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HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 



He Who Gets Slapped 

A PLAY IN FOUR ACTS 
BY LEONID ANDREYEV 



TRANSLATED FROM THE RUSSIAN 
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 

GREGORY ZILBOORG 




NEW YDRK 

BRENTANO'S 
Publishers 



Copyright. 1922, by 
BRENTANO'S 



Copyright, 1921, by 
THE DIAL PUBLISHING COMPANY 



All rights reserved 



Printed in the United States of America 



The first regular production of HE in English was by 
The Theatre Guild on January 9, 1922, at the Gar rick 
Theatre, New York. The original cast was as follows : 

Tilhi 1 , . . . . ( Philip Leigh 

Polly \ Musical clowns ■'••..... I Edgar Stehli 

Briquet, Manager of the Circus Ernest Cossart 

Mancini, Consuelo's Father Frank Reicher 

Zinida, a Lion Tamer Helen Westley 

£E£r} T «v™ Pe «° rmers ■ : : ("^affStSSS 

Francois Edwin R. Wolfe 

jjE Richard Bennett 

Jackson a Clown Henry Travers 

Consuelo, the Equestrian Tango Queen. . . Margalo Gillmore 
Alfred Bezano, a Bareback Rider .... John Rutherford 

Baron Be guard Louis Calvert 

A Gentleman J° h n Blair 

Wardrobe Lady Kathryn Wilson 

Usher Charles Cheltenham 

Conductor Edwin R. Wolfe 

Pierre Philip Loeb 

A Sword Dancer Renee Wilde 

Ballet Master Oliver Grymes 

{Vera Tompkins 
Anne Tonnetti 
Marguerite Wernimont 
Frances Ryan 
. „. _ . . . . f Adele St. Maur 

Actresses in Circus Pantomime . < g ara Enright 

Thomas, a Strong Man Dante Voltaire 

A Snake Charmer Joan Clement 

A Contortionist Richard Coolidge 

A Biding Master Kenneth Lawton 

A Juggler Francis G. Sadtler 

. » . . . ( Sears Taylor 
Acrobats . . I Luigi Belastro 

Stage Manager, Philip Loeb Ass't Stage Manager, Oliver Grymes 

Produced under the direction of ROBERT MILTON 

Settings and Costumes by LEE SIMONSON 

V 



"Stage, screen, and amateur rights for the translation 
and the original play in all English-speaking countries 
are owned and controlled by The Theatre Guild, 65 
West 35th St., New York City. No public readings or 
performances may be given without their written con- 
sent." 



vu 



INTRODUCTION 

Leonid Andreyev as a literary figure was born in 
the gloomy atmosphere of depression of the 'nineties. 
He thus appeared upon the literary stage at a period 
when the old and splendid generation of Turgenev 
and Dostoevsky had already passed away and when 
Chekhov had begun to demonstrate before the reader 
the gloom and colourlessness of Russia life. 

This was a period when the social forces of Russia 
were half destroyed by the reaction under Alexander 
III, and when the young generation was trying to 
rest and to get away from the strain of social hopes 
and despair. This period, briefly speaking, was a 
period of melancholy, of commonplace, every-day pre- 
occupations, and of dull terre a terre philosophy. 

It must be borne in mind that literature was the 
only outlet for the moral and intellectual forces of 
Russia. Political reaction, censorship, complete ab- 
sence of civil liberties, and the cult of popular ignor- 
ance upon which Czardom based its power, all these 
made the written artistic word almost the sole expres- 
sion of Russian social longings and idealistic ex- 
pectations. 

ix 



INTRODUCTION 

It is therefore only natural that Russian literature 
in its general development is closely interwoven with 
the political and social conditions of Russia at the 
given moment. The 'nineties were a period of depres- 
sion. After the assassination of Alexander II (1881) 
and the subsequent tightening of the chain of reaction, 
combined with a general debacle in progressive and 
radical circles, the Russian intellectual fell into a 
state of pessimism. His faith in an early liberation 
was shattered, his hope of recovery was broken. 
Chekhov is the most characteristic representative of 
that period; he himself called his heroes "the dull-grey 
people." 

Maxim Gorki and Leonid Andreyev appeared al- 
most simultaneously at that time. The former brought 
the message of a rebel spirit which forecast a new moral 
upheaval, a new social protest; the latter appeared 
clad in the gloom of his time, which he strangely com- 
bined with a spirit of almost anarchistic revolt. From 
the point of view of historical completeness Leonid 
Andreyev is more representative of the epoch, demon- 
strating at once two contradictory elements of the 
Russia of the 'nineties: lack or even absence of faith 
interwoven with protest and mutiny. 

Andreyev is symbolic and romantic. Her Majesty 
Fate and His Excellency Accident, these are the two 
dark, unknown, at times brutal forces which dwelt ever 
before the mind's eye. His symbols are full of horror 

x 



INTRODUCTION 

and at times unbending atrocity. Beginning with 
his short stories, In Fog, The Life of Basil of Thebes, 
through his dramas, The Life of Man, and Anathema, 
until his last writings, he saw human beings in the 
form of ghosts and ghosts in the form of human be- 
ings dominating every step, every breath of life. Still 
his gruesome symbolism, despite his genius for ren- 
dering his images in a clear-cut, almost crystalline 
manner, did not appeal to many of his contemporaries 
because the dark shroud in which Andreyev enveloped 
life was impenetrable and at times it was impossible 
to discern in that gloom the few values Which An- 
dreyev still found in life. Leo Tolstoy said once: 
"Leonid Andreyev tries to frighten me, but I am not 
afraid." 

Even in his splendid realistic dramas it is difficult 
for Andreyev to rid himself of the habit of symboliz- 
ing and dimming the few rays of light which try to 
filter through. 

There was nevertheless a little corner in Andreyev's 
artistic heart where there appeared some indefinite 
hope which never acquired a specific artistic form, but 
which was alluded to many times in his writings. In 
his short story, Thought, he makes fragmentary allu- 
sions to his half-hope, half-idea: "If the lot of the 
Man be to become a God, his throne will be the Book," 
says the hero. 

But the red laugh of the Russo-Japanese war, the 

xi 



INTRODUCTION 

abortive revolution of 1905, the general ignorance 
and darkness of the masses, the strain of the last war, 
the depreciation of human life as a value in itself, 
brought Leonid Andreyev to the last step of the 
pessimistic ladder which he was ever descending into 
the abyss of hopelessness. This state of mind is best 
illustrated by his last dramatic work, He, the One 
Who Gets Slapped. 

Here we see a man of high education, of great in- 
tellectual achievement, who leaves life, willingly in 
appearance, but forcibly in fact. The relations of 
man to man, of group to group, according to An- 
dreyev are such that the Man is forced to efface him- 
self. Even Thought, or the Book, could not help the 
Man to become a God. He becomes a clown. He 
performs stunts, he gets slaps ; the public laughs, being 
unaware that this laughter is a mockery at itself, at 
its culture, at its thought, at its achievement. 

The characters of the play, as the reader will see, 
are depicted with a bitter sarcasm and unfriendliness, 
for Andreyev seems to have lost his last faith in the 
Man. The good, the innocent and clean heart is 
bound to suffer and die. His Consuelo, Zinida, Be- 
zano are only stray rays of light out of place in the 
world and even in the world-circus which is full of 
spiders, champagne, and human outcasts. Andreyev 
does not blame these outcasts. On the contrary, he 
feels sympathy, if for anybody, for just these clowns, 

• • 

XII 



INTRODUCTION 

jugglers, and bareback-riders; but life, this strange 
combination of fate, accident, and cowardly slander, is 
stronger, and they collapse under the burden of this 
combination. 

He is perhaps the best work of Andreyev, at any 
rate his best dramatic work. It is more adapted to 
stage conditions than his previous plays and is not 
overcrowded with symbolic ghosts. Furthermore, He 
is a remarkable summary of Andreyev's philosophy. 

Gregory Zilboorg 



XUl 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 



CAST OF CHARACTERS 

Consuelo — a bareback rider in a circus. Billed as "The 

Bareback Tango Queen." 

Mancini — Consuelo's father. 

He — a clown in Briquet's circus. Billed as "HE Who 

Gets Slapped." 

Briquet — Manager of the circus. 

Zinida — a lion tamer, Briquet's wife, 

Alfred Bezano — a bareback rider* 

A Gentleman. 

Baron Regnard. 

Jackson — a clown. 

Tilly | 

p > — musical clowns. 

Thomas, Angelica, and other actors and actresses of 
Briquet's circus. 

The action takes place in one of the large cities of 

France, 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 
ACT I 

A very large, rather dirty room, with whitewashed 
walls. To the left, in a niche, is a window, the only out- 
side window in the room, opening on a court-yard. 
The light from it is so dim that even by day the elec- 
tricity has to be turned on. 

At the very top of the centre-back wall is a row of 
small dusty windows. They open on the circus hall. At 
night, when the performance is going on, a bright light 
shines through. By day they are dark. In the same 
wall is a large white door, reached by two stone steps, 
and nailed fast. 

On the right, almost in the corner, is a high, wid&, 
arched doorway which leads to the stables and the ring. 
By day it opens into pale darkness, at night into pale 
light. 

The room is used for many purposes. It is the office 
of Papa Briquet, manager of the circus; here he keeps 
his little desk. It is the cloak-room of some of the 
actors. It is also the room where the cast gathers be- 
tween calls, during rehearsals or performances. Again, 
it is a check-room for used circus property, such as gilt 



4 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

armchairs, scenery for pantomimes, and other wares of 
the circus household. The walls are covered with circus 
announcements and glaring posters. 

The time is morning. In the circus hall a rehearsal 
is going on, and preparations are being made for the 
evening performance. As the curtain goes up, the 
cracking whip and tiie shouts of the riding-master are 
heard from the ring. The stage is empty for a few 
seconds, then enter Tilly and Polly, the musical clowns, 
practising a new march. Playing on tiny pipes, they 
step from the dark doorway to the window. Their 
music is agreeable to the ear, but small, mincing, arti- 
ficially clown-like, like their mincing steps; they wear 
jackets and resemble each other; same smooth-shaven 
face, same height; Tilly, the younger, has a scarf 
around his neck; both have their derbies on the backs 
of their heads. Tilly glances through the window, then 
they turn about, still marching* 

Polly 

[Interrupting the marcK] : Stop, you're out again ! 
Now, listen — [He stands close to Tilly and plays into 
his face. Tilly absent-mindedly listens, scratching his 
nose.~\ There! Come on now! [They resume their 
music and marching. As they reach the door they meet 
the manager and Mancini ; the latter walks behind the 
manager, and is gnawing at the knob of his gold- 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 5 

mounted cane. Count Mancini is tall and slight. The 
seams of his clothes are worn and he keeps his coat but- 
toned tight. He assumes extremely graceful manners, 
takes affected poses, and has a special fondness for 
toying with his cane, with aristocratic stylishness. 
When he laughs, which happens often, his thin sharp 
face takes on a marked resemblance to a satyr. The 
manager, "Papa" Briquet, is a stout quiet man of 
average height. His bearing is hesitant. The clowns 
make room for the gentlemen. The manager looks 
questioningly at the older man.] 

Polly 

[With an affected accent] : Our moosic for the pan- 
tomime ! The March of the Ants ! 

Briquet 
Ha! Yes! 
[The gentlemen walk in. The clowns resume their 
music, Polly marching on, then turning, the 
younger following.] 

Polly 
Papa Briquet, Jack is working very badly to-day. 

Briquet 
What's the matter with him? 



6 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Polly 

He has a sore throat. You'd better take a look at 
him. 

Briquet 

All right. Come on, Jack. Open your mouth! 
Wider — wider. [Turns clown's face to the light near 
the window and examines him closely and seriously.] 
Just smear it with iodine. 

Polly 

I told him so. I said it was nothing! Oh! Come 
on. [They go away playing, marching, practising 
their funny mincing steps. The manager sits down. 
Mancini strikes a pose by the wall, smiling ironi- 
cally.] 

Mancini 

So. You give them medical treatment, too I Look 
out, Papa Briquet, you have no licence. 

Briquet 

Just a little advice. They're all so afraid for their 
lives. 

Mancini 
His throat is simply burnt with whiskey. These 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 7 

two fellows get drunk every night. I am amazed, 
Papa Briquet, to see you pay so little attention to 
their morals. [He laughs. ,] 

Briquet 
You make me sick, Mancini. 

Mancini 

Count Mancini is at your service ! 

Briquet 

You make me sick, Count Mancini. You poke your 
nose into everything, you disturb the artists in their 
work. Some day you'll get a thrashing, and I warn 
\ou that I shan't interfere. 

Mancini 

As a man of superior associations and education I 
cannot be expected to treat your actors as my equals ! 
What more can you ask, Briquet? You see that I do 
you the honour of speaking with you quite familiarly, 
quite simply. 

Briquet 
Ha! ha! ha! [Slightly threatening] Really! — 



8 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Mancini 

Never mind my joke. What if they did dare attack 
me — ever seen this, Briquet? [He draws a stiletto 
out of his cane and advances it silently.~\ Useful little 
thing. By the way, you have no idea of the discovery 
I made yesterday in a suburb. Such a girl ! [Laughs.] 
Oh, well! all right, all right — I know you don't like 
that sort of sport. But look here, you must give me 
a hundred francs ! 

Briquet 
Not a sou. 



Mancini 
Then I'll take away Consuelo — that's all- 

Briquet 
Your daily threat! 

Mancini 



Yes, my threat! And you would do the same, if 
you were as shamefully hard up as I am. Now look 
here, you know as well as I do that I have to live up 
to my name somehow, keep up the family reputation. 
Just because the tide of ill-fortune which struck my 
ancestors compelled me to make my daughter, the 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 9 

Countess Veronica, a bareback rider — to keep us from 
starving — do you understand — you heartless idiot ! 

Briquet 

You chase the girls too much! Some day you'll 
land in jail, Manoini! 

Mancini 

In jail? Oh, no! Why, I have to uphold our 
name, the splendour of my family, [laughs] haven't 
I? The Mancinis are known all over Italy for their 
love of girls — just girls! Is it my fault if I must 
pay such crazy prices for what my ancestors got free 
of charge? You're nothing but an ass, a parvenu 
ass. How can you understand Family Traditions? I 
don't drink — I stopped playing cards after that acci- 
dent — no, you need not smile. Now if I give up the 
girls, what will be left of Mancini? Only a coat of 
arms, that's all In the name of family tradi- 
tions, give me a hundred francs! 

Briquet 
I told you no, I won't. 

Mancini 
You know that I leave half of the salary for Con- 



10 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

suclo — but — perhaps you think I do not love my child 
— my only daughter, all that remains to me as a 
memory of her sainted mother — what cruelty! [Pre- 
tends to cry, wipes his eyes with a small and dirty 
lace handkerchief, embroidered with a coronet.] 

Briquet 

Why don't you say, rather, that she is foolish 
enough to give you half her salary. You make me 

sick 

[Enter Zinida, the lion tamer; burningly beautiful, 
her self-confident, commanding gestures at first 
glance give an impression of languor. She is 
Briquet's unmarried wife.] 

Zinida 
[To Mancini] : Good morning. 

Mancini 

Madame Zinida! This barbarian, this brute may 
pierce me with his dagger, but I cannot control the 
expression of my love ! [Kneels facetiously before her] 
Madame! Count Mancini has the honour of asking 
you to be his wife. 

Zinida 
[To Briquet]: Money? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 11 

Briquet 
Yes. 

ZlNIDA 

Don't give him any. [Sits down wearily on a torn 
sofa, shuts her eyes. Mancini gets up and wipes his 
knees. ] 

Mancini 

Duchess! Don't be cruel. I am no lion, no tiger, 
no savage beast which you are accustomed to tame. I 
am merely a poor domestic animal, who wants, miaow, 
miaow, a little green grass. 

Zinida 

[Without opening her eyes'] : Jim tells me you 
have a teacher for Consuelo. What for? 

Mancini 

The solicitude of a father, duchess, the solicitude 
and the tireless anxiety of a loving heart. The ex- 
treme misfortunes of our family, when I was a child, 
have left some flaws in her education. Friends, the 
daughter of Count Mancini, Countess Veronica, can 
barely read! Is that admissible? And you, Briquet, 
heartless brute, you still ask why I need money ! 



12 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

ZlNIDA 

Artful! 

Briquet 
What are you teaching her? 

Mancini 

Everything. A student had been giving her lessons, 
but I threw him out yesterday. He had the nerve to 
fall in love with Consuelo and stood there miaowing 
at the door like a cat. Everything, Briquet, that you 

don't know — literature, mythology, orthography 

[Two young actresses appear, with small fur coats 

thrown over their light dresses. They are tired 

and sit down in the corner.] 

Mancini 
I da not wish my daughter 



Zinida 
Artful! 

Briquet 

You are stupid, Mancini. What do you do it for? 
[In a didactic tone] You are fearfully stupid, Man- 
cini. Why does she need to learn? Since she is here 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 13 

she need never know anything about that life. Don't 
you understand? What is geography? If I were the 
government I would forbid artists to read books. Let 
them read the posters, that's enough. 
[During Briquet's speech, the two clowns and an- 
other actor enter. They sit down wearily.'] 

Briquet 

Right now, your Consuelo is an excellent artist, but 
just as soon as you teach her mythology, and she 
begins to read, she'll become a nuisance, she'll be cor- 
rupted, and then she'll go and poison herself. I know 
those books, I've read 'em myself. All they teach is 
corruption, and how to kill oneself. 

First Actress 
I love the novels that come out in the newspaper. 

Briquet 

That shows what a foolish girl you are. You'll be 
done for in no time. Believe me, my friends, we must 
forget entirely what is happening out there. How 
can we understand all that goes on there? 

Mancini 

You are an enemy of enlightenment, you are an ob- 
scurantist, Briquet. 



14 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Briquet 

And you are stupid. You are from out there. 
What has it taught you? {The actors laugh.'] If 
you'd been born in a circus as I was, you'd know 
something. Enlightenment is plain nonsense — nothing 
else. Ask Zinida. She knows everything they teach 

out there — geography, mythology Does it make 

her any happier? You tell them, dear. 

Zinida 
Leave me alone, Louis. 

Mancini 

[Angrily] : Oh ! Go to the devil ! When I listen 
to your asinine philosophy, I'd like to skin you for 
more than a paltry hundred francs — for two hundred 
— for a thousand. Great God! What an ass of a 
manager! Yes, right before every one of them I want 
to say that you are a stingy old skinflint — that you 
pay starvation wages. I'll make you give Consuelo a 
raise of a hundred francs. Listen, all you honest 
vagabonds, tell me — who is it draws the crowd that 
fills the circus every night? You? a couple of musical 
donkeys? Tigers, lions? Nobody cares for those 
hungry cats ! 

Zinida 

Leave the tigers alone. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 15 

Mancini 

Beg your pardon, Zinida. I did not mean to hurt 
your feelings — honestly. I really marvel at your 
furious audacity — at your grace — you are a heroine 
— I kiss your tiny hands. But what do they under- 
stand about heroism? [An orchestra softly plays the 
Tango in the circus. He continues with enthusiasm.] 
Hear! hear! Now tell me, honest vagabonds, who but 
Consuelo and Bezano draws the crowds ! That Tango 

on horseback — it is — it is Oh, the devil! Even 

his fatuousness the Pope could not withstand its lure. 

Polly 
True ! It's a great trick — wasn't the idea Bezano's ? 

Mancini 

Idea! Idea! The lad's in love, like a cat — that's 
the idea. What's the good of an idea without a 
woman! You wouldn't dance very far with your idea 
alone, eh, Papa Briquet? 

Briquet 
We have a contract. 

Mancini 
Such base formalities. 



16 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

ZlNIDA 

Give him ten francs and let him go. 

Mancini 

Ten ! Never ! Fifteen! Don't be stubborn, Papa. 
For the traditions of my house — twenty. I swear — 
on my honour — I can't do with less. [Briquet hands 
him twenty francs. Nonchalantly) Merci. Thanks. 

Zinida 
Why don't you take it from your baron? 

Mancini 

[Raising his eyebrows haughtily, quite indignant] : 
From the Baron ? Woman ! who do you think I am 
that I should be beholden to a stranger? 

Zinida 

You're plotting something artful. I know you very 
little, but I guess you're an awful scoundrel. 

Mancini 

[Laughs] : Such an insult from such beautiful Hps. 
[Enter an "artist," apparently an athlete.] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 17 

Athlete 

Papa Briquet, there's a gentleman from beyond the 
grave asking for you. 

Actress 
A ghost? 

Athlete 

No, He seems alive. Did you ever see a drunken 
ghost? 

Briquet 

If he's drunk, tell him I'm out, Thomas. Does he 
want to see me or the Count? 

Athlete 
No, you. Maybe he's not drunk, but just a ghost. 

Mancini 

[Draws himself together, puffs up] : A society 
man? 

Athlete 

Yes. I'll tell him to come in. 
[One hears the whip cracking in the ring. The Tango 



18 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

sounds 'very low and distant — then comes nearer 
— louder. Silence.] 

Briquet 
[Touching Zinida's arm] : Tired? 

Zinida 
[Drawing back a little] : No. 

Polly 
Your red lion is nervous to-day, Zinida! 

Zinida 
You shouldn't tease him. 

Polly 

I played a melody from Traviata for him. And he 
sang with me. Wouldn't that be a good trick to 
stage, Papa Briquet? 

[Thomas brings in the gentleman, points out the 
manager, and goes heavily away. The gentle- 
man is not young, and he is ugly, but his rather 
strange face is bold and lively. He wears an ex- 
pensive overcoat, with a fur collar, and holds his 
hat and gloves in his hand.'] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 19 

Gentleman 

[Bowing and smiling'] : Have I the pleasure of 
addressing the manager? 

Briquet 

Yes. Won't you sit down, please? Tilly, bring a 
chair. 

Gentleman 

Oh! Don't trouble. [Looks around.] These are 
your artists? Very glad 

Mancini 

[Straightening and bowing slightly] : Count Man- 
cini. 

Gentleman 
[Surprised] : Count? 

Briquet 

[Indignantly] : Yes, Count. And whom have I the 
honour of 

Gentleman 
I don't quite know myself — yet. As a rule you 



20 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

choose your own names, don't you? I have not chosen 
yet. Later you might advise me about it. I have an 
idea already, but I am afraid it sounds too much like 
literature — you know. 

Briquet 
Literature? 

Gentleman 

Yes! Too sophisticated. [They all look surprised.] 
I presume these two gentlemen are clowns? I am so 
glad. May I shake hands with them? [Stands up 
and shakes hands with clowns, who make silly faces.] 

Briquet 
Excuse me — but what can I do for you? 

Gentleman 

[With the same pleasant, confident smile] : Oh. 
You do something for me? No. I want to do some- 
thing for you, Papa Briquet. 

Briquet 
Papa Briquet? But you don't look like 

Gentleman 
[Reassuringly]: It's all right. I shall become 
"like." These two gentlemen just made remarkable 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 21 

faces. Would you like to see me imitate them ? Look ! 
[He makes the same silly faces as the clowns. ~\ 

Briquet 
Yes! [Involuntarily] You are not drunk, sir? 

Gentleman 
No. I don't drink as a rule. Do I look drunk? 

Polly 
A little. 

Gentleman 

No — I don't drink. It is a peculiarity of my 
talent. 

Briquet 

[Familiarly] : Where did you work before? Jug- 
gler? 

Gentleman 

No. But I am glad you feel in me a comrade, Papa 
Briquet. Unfortunately I am not a juggler, and 
have worked nowhere — I am — just so. 

Mancini 
But you look like a society man. 



22 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Gentleman 
Oh, you flatter me, Count. I am just so. 

Briquet 

Well, what do you want? You see I am obliged to 
tell you that everything is taken. 

Gentleman 

That's immaterial. I want to be a clown, if you 
will allow me. [Some of the actors smile, Briquet 
begins to grow angry. ,] 

Briquet 

But what can you do? You're asking too much. 
What can you do? 

Gentleman 

Why! Nothing! Isn't that funny! I can't do a 
thing. 

Briquet 

No, it's not funny. Any scoundrel knows that 
much. 

Gentleman 

[Rather helpless, but still smiling and looking 
around] : We can invent something 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 23 

Briquet 

[Ironically] : From literature? 

[The clown Jackson enters slowly without being no- 
ticed by the others. He stands behind the gen- 
tlemen.] 

Gentleman 

Yes, one can find something literary, too. A nice 
little speech for instance on, let's say, a religious 
topic. Something like a debate among the clowns. 

Briquet 
A debate! The devil! This is no academy. 

Gentleman 

[Sadly] : I am very sorry. Something else then. 
Perhaps a joke about the creation of the world and its 
rulers? 

Briquet 

What about the police? No, no — nothing like 
that! 

Jackson 

[Coming forward] : The rulers of the world? You 
don't like them? I don't either. Shake. 



24 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Briquet 

[Introducing] : Our chief clown, the famous Jack- 
son. 

Gentleman 

[Enthusiastically] : Great heavens — you ! Allow 
me to shake hands with you heartily ! You, with your 
genius, you have given me so much joy! 

Jackson 
I'm glad indeed ! 

Briquet 

[Shrugs his shoulders; to Jackson] : He wants to 

be a clown! Look him over, Jim. 

[Jackson makes a motion at which the gentleman hur- 
riedly removes his coat and throws it on a chair. 
He is ready for the examination. Jackson turns 
him round, looking him over critically.] 

Jackson 

Clown? Hm! Turn round then. Clown? Yes? 
Now smile. Wider — broader — do you call that a 
smile? So — that's better. There is something, yes — 

but for full developments [Sadly] Probably 

you can't even turn a somersault? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 25 

Gentleman 
[Sighs'] : No. 

Jackson 
How old are you? 

Gentleman 

Thirty-nine. Too late? [Jackson moves away 
with a whistle. There is a silence.] 

Zinida 
[Softly] : Take him. 

Briquet 

[Indignant ] : What the hell shall I do with him if 
he doesn't know a thing? He's drunk! 

Gentleman 

Honestly I am not. Thank you for your support, 
Madame. Are you not the famous Zinida, the lion 
tamer, whose regal beauty and audacity 

Zinida 
Yes. But I do not like flattery. 



26 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Gentleman 
It is not flattery. 

Mancini 

You are evidently not accustomed to good society, 
my dear. Flattery? This gentleman expresses his 
admiration in sincere and beautiful words — and you — 

you are not educated, Zinida. As for myself 

[Enter Consuelo and Bezano in circus costume.] 

Consuelo 
You here, Daddy? 

Mancini 

Yes, my child, you are not tired? {Kisses her on 
the forehead.] My daughter, sir, Countess Veronica. 
Known on the stage as Consuelo, The Bareback Tango 
Queen. Did you ever see her? 

Gentleman 
I have enjoyed her work. It is marvellous! 

Mancini 

Yes! Of course. Everyone admits it. And how 
do you like the name, Consuelo? I took it from the 
novel of George Sand. It means "Consolation." 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 27 

Gentleman 
What a wonderful knowledge of books! 

Mancini 

A small thing. Despite your strange intention, I 
can see, sir, that you are a gentleman. My peer! 
Let me explain to you, that only the strange and 
fatal misfortunes of our ancient family — "sic transit 
gloria mundi" sir. 

Consuelo 

It's a bore, Daddy Where's my handkerchief, 

Alfred? 



Here it is. 



Bezano 



Consuelo 



[Showing the handkerchief to the gentleman] : 
Genuine Venetian. Do you like it? 

Gentleman 

[Again bowing] : My eyes are dazzled, how beau- 
tiful! Papa Briquet, the more I look around me the 
more I want to stay with you. [Makes the face of a 
simpleton.] On the one hand a count, on the 
other 



28 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Jackson 

[Nods approval] : That's not bad. Look here, 
think a bit — find something. Everyone here thinks 
for himself. 

[Silence. The gentleman stands tvith a -finger on his 
forehead, thinking.] 

Gentleman 
Find something — find something . . . Eureka! 

Polly 
That means found. Come! 

Gentleman 

Eureka I shall be among you, he who gets 

slapped. [General laughter. Even Briquet smiles.] 

Gentleman 

[Looks at them smiling] : You see I made even 
you laugh — is that easy? [All grow serious. Polly 
sighs.] 

Tilly 
No, it's not easy. Did you laugh, Polly? 

Polly 
Sure, a lot. Did you? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 29 

Tilly 

I did. [Imitating an instrument, he plays with his 
lips a melody at once sad and gay.] 

Jackson 
"He Who Gets Slapped," that's not bad. 

Gentleman 

It's not, is it? I rather like it myself. It suits my 
talent. And comrades, I have even found a name — 
you'll call me "He." Is that all right? 

Jackson 
[Thinking] : "He"— Not bad. 

Consuelo 

[In a singing, melodic voice] : "He" is so funny — 
"He" — like a dog. Daddy, are there such dogs? 
[Jackson suddenly gives a circus slap to the gentle- 
man. HE steps back and grows pale.'] 

Gentleman 
What! — [General laughter covers his exclamation.] 

Jackson 
He Who Gets Slapped. Or didn't you get it? 



30 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

POLLY 

[Comically] : He says lie wants more — 



[The gentleman siniles, rubbing his cheek.] 

Gentleman 

So sudden. — Without waiting. — How funny — you 
didn't hurt me, and yet my cheek burns. 

[Again there is loud laughter. The clowns cackle like 
ducks, hens, cocks; they bark. Zinida says some- 
thing to Briquet, casts a glance toward Bezano, 
and goes out. Mancini assumes a bored air and 
looks at his watch. The two actresses go out.] 

Jackson 
Take him, Papa Briquet — he will push us. 

Mancini 

[Again looking at his watch] : But bear in mind, 
that Papa Briquet is as close as Harpagon. If you 
expect to get good money here you are mistaken. 
[HE laughs.] A slap? What's a slap? Worth only 
small change, a franc and a half a dozen. Better go 
back to society; you will make more money there. 
Why for one slap, just a light tap, you might say, 
my friend, Marquis Justi, was paid fifty thousand 
lire! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 31 

Briquet 

Shut up, Mancini. Will you take care of him, 
Jackson. 

Jackson 
I can. 

Polly 

Do you like music? A Beethoven sonata played on 
a broom, for instance, or Mozart on a bottle? 

He 

Alas! No. But I will be exceedingly grateful if 
you will teach me. A clown! My childhood's dream. 
When all my school friends were thrilled by Plutarch's 
heroes, or the light of science — I dreamed of clowns. 
Beethoven on a broom, Mozart on bottles! Just what 
I have sought all my life! Friends, I must have a 
costume ! 

Jackson 

I see you don't know much! A costume [putting 
his finger on his forehead] is a thing which calls for 
deep thought. Have you seen my Sun here? [Strikes 
Ms posterior.] I looked for it two years. 



32 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

[Enthusiastically] : I shall think ! 

Mancini 

It is time for me to go. Consuelo, my child, you 
must get dressed. [To HE.] We are lunching with 
Baron Regnard, a friend of mine, a banker. 

Consuelo 

But I don't want to go, Daddy. Alfred says I 
must rehearse to-day. 

Mancini 

[Horrified, holding up his hands] : Child, think of 
me, and what a situation you put me in! I promised 
the Baron, the Baron expects us. Why, it is impos- 
sible! Oh, I am in a cold sweat. 

Consuelo 
Alfred says 

Bezano 

[Drily] : She has to work. Are you rested? Then 
come on. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 33 

Mancini 

But — the devil take me if I know what to make of 
it. Hey, Bezano, bareback rider! Are you crazy? 
I gave you permission for Art's sake, to exercise my 
daughter's talent — and you 

Consuelo 

Go along, Papa, and don't be so silly. We've got 
to work, haven't we? Have lunch along with your 
Baron. And Daddy, you forgot to take a clean 
handkerchief again, and I washed two for you yester- 
day. Where did you put them? 

Mancini 

[Ashamed, blushing] : Why, my linen is washed by 
the laundress, and you, Consuelo, are still playing 
with toys. It is stupid! You're a chatter-box. You 
don't think. These gentlemen might imagine Heaven 
knows what. How stupid. I'm off. 

Consuelo 
Do you want me to write him a little note? 

Mancini 

[Angrily'] : A little note? Your little notes would 
make a horse laugh! Good-bye. 
[He goes out toying angrily with his cane. The 



34 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

clowns follow him respectfully, playing a funeral 
march. HE and Jackson laugh. The actors 
disappear one by one.~\ 



Consuelo 

[Laughing] : Do I really write so badly? And I 
love so to write. Did you like my note, Alfred — or 
did you laugh, too? 

Bezano 

[Blushing] : No, I did not. Come on, Consuelo. 
[They go y and meet Zinida, entering. Consuelo 
passes on.~\ 

Zinida 
Are you going back to work, Bezano? 

Bezano 

[Politely] : Yes. To-day is a very bad day. How 
are your lions, Zinida? I think the weather affects 
them. 

Consuelo 
[From the ring] : Alfred ! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 35 

ZlNIDA 

Yes. Some one is calling you. You'd better go. 
[Alfred goes out. To Briquet] Are you finished? 

Briquet 
Right away. 

Jackson 

Then good-bye till evening. Think about your 
costume, He, and I shall look for some idea, too. Be 
here at ten to-morrow. Don't be late, or you'll get 
another slap. And I'll work with you. 

He 

I shall not be late. [He looks after Jackson who 
goes out.~\ Must be a nice man. All the people about 
you are so nice, Papa Briquet. I suppose that good- 
looking bareback rider is in love with Consuelo, isn't 
he? [Laughs.] 

Zinida 

It's none of your business. For a newcomer you go 
poking your nose too far. How much does he want, 
Papa? 



36 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Briquet 

Just a minute. See here He. I don't want to make 
a contract with you. 

He 

Just as you please. Do you know what? Don't 
let us talk about money. You are an honest fellow, 
Briquet; you will see what my work is worth to you, 
and then 

Briquet 

[Pleased] : Now that's very nice of you. Zinida, 
the man really doesn't know anything. 

Zinida 

Well, do as he suggests. Now we must write it 
down. Where's the book? 

Briquet 

Here. [To HE.~\ I don't like to write [gives book 
to Zinida), but we have to put down the names of the 
actors, you know — it's police regulations. Then if 
anyone kills himself, or 

[Again comes the sound of the Tango, and calls from 
the ring.] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 37 

ZlNIDA 

What is your name? 

He 

[Smiling'] : He. I chose it, you know. Or don't 
you like it? 

Briquet 

We like it all right — but we have to have your real 
name. Have you a passport? 

He 

[Confused] : A passport ? No, I have none. Or, 
rather, yes. I have something of the kind, but I had 
no idea the rules were strictly enforced here. What 
do you need papers for? 

[Zinida and Briquet look at each other. Zinida 
pushes the book aside.] 

Zinida 

Then we can't take you. We cannot quarrel with 
the police, just on your account. 

Briquet 

She is my wife. I hadn't told you. She's right. 
You might get hurt by a horse, or hurt yourself — or 



38 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

do something. We don't know you, you see. I per- 
sonally don't care, but out there, it's different, you 
see. For me a corpse is just a corpse — and I don't 
ask anything about him. It's up to God or the Devil. 
But they — they're too curious. Well, I suppose it's 
necessary for order. I don't know Got a card? 

He 

[Rubs his head, thinking] : What shall I do ? I 
have my card, but [smiles'] you understand that I 
don't want my name to be known. 

Briquet 
Some story, hey? 

He 

Yes, something like that. Why can't you imagine 
that I have no name? Can't I lose it as I might lose 
my hat? Or let someone else take it by mistake? 
When a stray dog comes to you, you don't ask his 
name — you simply give him another. Let me be that 
dog. [Laughing] He — the Dog! 

Zinida 

Why don't you tell us your name, just the two of 
us. Nobody else need know it. Unless you should 
break your neck 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 39 

He 

[Hesitates] : Honestly ? [Zinida shrugs her shoul- 
ders.'] 

Briquet 

Where people are honest, their word is good. One 
sees you come from out there. 

He 

All right. But please, don't be surprised. [Gives 
Zinida his card. She looks at it, then hands it to 
Briquet, then both look at HE.] 

Briquet 

If it is true, sir, that you are really what is written 
here 

He 

For heaven's sake — for heaven's sake — this does not 
exist, but was lost long ago; it is just a check for an 
old hat. I pray you to forget it, as I have. I am 
He Who Gets Slapped — nothing else. [Silence,] 

Briquet 

I beg your pardon, sir, but I must ask you again, 
1 must humbly ask you — are you not drunk, sir? 
There is something in your eye — something 



40 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

No, no. I am He, Who Gets Slapped. Since when 
do you speak to me like this, Papa Briquet? You 
offend me. 

Zinida 

After all, it's his business, Briquet. [She hides the 
card.] Truly you are a strange man. [Smiles.] 
And you have already noticed that Bezano is in love 
with the horse-girl? And that I love my Briquet, 
did you notice that, too? 

He 

[Also smiling] : Oh, yes. You adore him. 

Zinida 

I adore him. Now go with him, Briquet, show him 
the ring and the stables — I have something to write. 

He 

Yes, yes, please. I am so happy. At last you have 
taken me, haven't you? It is true — you're not jok- 
ing. The circus, the tan-bark, the ring in which I 
shall run getting my slaps. Yes, yes, Briquet, let's 
go. Until I feel the sawdust under my feet, I shall 
not believe it. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 41 

Briquet 
All right then. [Kisses Zinida.] Come on. 

Zinida 

Just a minute — He! Answer me a question. I 
have a man who takes care of the cages, a plain fellow 
whom nobody knows. He just cleans the cages you 
know; he walks in and out whenever he wants to, 
without even looking at the lions, as if he were per- 
fectly at home. Why is that so? Nobody knows 
him, everybody knows me, everyone is afraid for me, 

while And he is such a silly man — you will see 

him. [Laughs.] But don't you think of entering the 
cage yourself! My red one would give you such a 
slap! 

Briquet 

[Displeased] : There you are again, Zinida — 
stop it. 

Zinida 

[Laughs] : All right — go. Oh yes, Louis, send me 
Bezano. I have to settle an account with him. 

[HE and the director go out. Zinida looks at the 
card once more, then hides it. She gets up and 
walks quickly up and down the room. She stops 



42 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

to listen to the Tango, which ends abruptly. 
Then she stands motionless, looking straight at 
the dark opening of the door through which 
Bezano comes. 1 

Bezano 

\_Entering~\ : You called me, Zinida? What do 

you want? Tell me quickly, I have no time 

[Zinida looks at him silently. Bezano flushes with 

anger, and knits his eyebrows. He turns to the 

door to go.~\ 

Zinida 
Bezano ! 

Bezano 

[Stops, without looking up~\ : What do you want? 
I have no time. 

Zinida 

Bezano ! I keep hearing people say that you are in 
love with Consuelo. Is it true? 

Bezano 

[Shrugging his shoidders'] : We work well together. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 43 

ZlNIDA 

[Takes a step forward] : No Tell me, Al- 
fred, do you love her? 

Bezano 

[Flushes like a boy, but looks straight into Zinida's 
eyes. Proudly] : I do not love anybody. No, I love 
nobody. How can I? Consuelo? She is here to-day, 
gone to-morrow, if her father should take her away. 
And I? Who am I? An acrobat, the son of a Milan- 
ese shoemaker She! I cannot even talk about it. 

Like my horses I have no words. Who am I to love? 

Zinida 
Do you love me? A little? 

Bezano 
No. I told you before. 

Zinida 
Still no? Not even a little? 

Bezano 

[After a silence] : I am afraid of you. 



44 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

ZlNIDA 

[Wants to cry out, indignantly, but masters herself 
and lowers her eyes, as if in an effort to shut out their 
light; turns pale] : Am I ... so terrifying a 
woman 

Bezano 

You are beautiful, like a queen. You are almost 
as beautiful as Consuelo. But I don't like your eyes. 
Your eyes command me to love you — and I don't like 
to be commanded. I am afraid of you. 

Zinida 
Do I command, Bezano? No — only implore. 

Bezano 

Then why not look at me straight? Now I have 
it. You know yourself that your eyes cannot implore. 
[Laughs.] Your lions have spoiled you. 

Zinida 
My red lion loves me 

BeZano 

Never! If he loves you, why is he so sad? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 45 

ZlNIDA 

Yesterday he was licking my hands like a dog. 

Bezano 

And this morning he was looking for you to devour 
you. He thrusts out his muzzle and looks out, as if 
he sees only you. He is afraid of you, and he hates 
you. Or do you want me to lick your hands too, like 
a dog? 

Zinida 

No, Alfred, but I — I want to kiss your hand. [With 
passion] : Give it to me ! 

Bezano 

[Severely] : I am ashamed to listen to you when 
you speak like that. 

Zinida 

[Controlling herself] : One should not torture an- 
other as you torture me. Alfred, I love you. No, I 

do not command. Look into my eyes / love you. 

[Silence.] 

Bezano 
[Turns to go] : Good-bye. 



46 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

ZlNIDA 

Alfred 

[HE appears in the doorway, and stops.] 

Bezano 

» 

Please never tell me any more that you love me. I 
don't want it. Otherwise I will quit. You pronounce 
the word love as if you were cracking me with your 
whip. You know it is disgusting 

[He turns brusquely and goes. Both notice HE; 
Bezano, frowning, passes out quickly. Zinida 
returns to her place at the desk, with a proudly 
indifferent expression.] 

He 

[Coming in] : I beg your pardon, but I 

Zinida 

There you are again, poking your nose into every- 
thing, He. Do you really want a slap? 

He 

[Laughing] : No. I simply forgot my overcoat. 
I didn't hear anything. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 47 

ZlNIDA 

I don't care whether you did or not. 

He 
May I take my coat? 

Zinida 
Take it if it's yours. Sit down, He. 

He 

I am sitting down. 

Zinida 
Now tell me He, could you love me? 

He 

[Laughing] : I ? I and Love ! Look at me, Zinida. 
Did you ever see a lover with such a face? 

Zinida 
One can succeed with such a face 



He 

That's because I am happy — because I lost my hat 
— because I am drunk — or perhaps I am not drunk. 



48 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

But I feel as dizzy as a young girl at her first ball. 
It is so nice here — slap me, I want to play my part. 
Perhaps it will awaken love in my heart, too. Love — 
[as if listening to his own heart with pretended ter- 
ror'] do you know — I feel it ! 
[In the circus the Tango is played again.] 

ZlNIDA 

[Listening too] : For me? 

He 

No. I don't know. For everyone. [Listens to the 
music] Yes, they are dancing — how beautiful Con- 
suelo is — and how beautiful is the youth. He has the 
body of a Greek God; he looks as if he had been 
modeled by Praxiteles. Love! Love! [Silence, 
music] 

Zinida 

Tell me, He 

He 

At your service, Queen! 

Zinida 

He, what shall I do, to make my lions love me? 

Curtain 



ACT II 

The same room, during the evening performance. 
Occasional music, laughter, shrieks, and applause are 
audible. Through the small windows, back centre, 
the light is shining. 

Consuelo and Baron Regnard occupy the stage; 
Consuelo wears her stage costume; she sits with her 
feet on the sofa, a small shawl covering her shoulders. 
Before her stands the Baron, a tall stout man in eve- 
ning dress, a rose in his buttonhole; grasping the 
ground with feet well apart, he gazes at her with 
convex spider-like eyes. 

Baron 

Is it true that your father, the Count, has intro- 
duced you to a certain Marquis Justi, a very rich 
man? 

Consuelo 

[Surprised] : No, he is only joking. I have often 
heard him speak of a Marquis Justi but I have never 
seen him 

Baron 

And do you know that your father is just a 
charlatan? 

49 



50 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

Oh! Don't say that — Father is such a dear. 

Baron 
Did you like the jewels? 

Consuelo 

Yes, very much. I was very sorry when Father 
told me I must return them. He said it would not 
be nice for me to keep them. I even cried a little 
about it. 

Baron 
Your father is only a beggar and a charlatan. 

Consuelo 
Oh, no, don't scold him — he loves you so much. 

Baron 
Let me kiss your hand 

Consuelo 

Oh, no, it isn't proper! One may kiss the hand 
only when one says how do you do or good-bye. But 
in the meantime you can't. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 51 

Baron 

Everybody is in love with you, that is why you and 
your father make such a fuss about yourselves. Who 
is that new clown they call He? I don't like him, he's 
too shrewd a beast. ... Is he in love with you, 
too? I noticed the way he looked at you. 

Consuelo 

[Laughing'] : Nothing of the kind. He is so 
funny ! He got fifty-two slaps yesterday. We counted 
them. Think of it, fifty-two slaps ! Father said, "if 
they had only been gold pieces." 

Baron 
And Bezano, Consuelo. . . . Do you like him? 

Consuelo 

Yes, very much. He is so good-looking. He says 
that Bezano and I are the most beautiful couple in 
the world. He calls him Adam, and me Eve. But 
that's improper, isn't it? He is so improper. 

Baron 
And does He speak to you very often? 



52 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

Yes, often. . . . But I don't understand him. 
It seems as if he were drunk. 

Baron 

"Consuelo"! ... It means in Spanish . . . 
Consolation. Your father is an ass. . . . Con- 
suelo, I love you. 

Consuelo 
Talk it over with Father. 

Baron 

\_Angry~\ : Your father is a swindler and a char- 
latan. He should be turned over to the police. Don't 
you understand that I cannot marry you? 

Consuelo 
But Father says you can. 

Baron 

No, I cannot. And what if I shoot myself? Con- 
suelo, silly girl, I love you unbearably . . . un- 
bearably, do you understand? I am probably mad 
. . and must be taken to a doctor, yanked about, 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 53 

beaten with sticks. Why do I love you so much, 
Consuelo ? 

Consuelo 
Then, you'd better marry. 

Baron 

I have had a hundred women, beauties, but I didn't 
see them. You are the first and I don't see any one 
else. Who strikes man with love, God or the Devil? 
The Devil struck me. Let me kiss your hand. 

Consuelo 
No. [She thinks a while and sighs. ] 

Baron 

Do you think sometimes? What are you thinking 
about now Consuelo? 

Consuelo 

[With another sigh]: I don't know why, I just 
felt sorry for Bezano. [Sighs again.] He is so nice 
to me when he teaches me . . . and he has such 
a tiny little room. 

Baron 
[Indignant]: You were there? 



54 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 



No. He told me about it. [Smiling'] Do you 
hear the noise in there? That's He getting slapped. 
Poor thing . . . although I know it doesn't 
hurt, it's only make-believe. The intermission is com- 
ing soon. 
[The Baron throws away his cigar, takes two quick 

steps forward, and falls on his knees before the 

girl.] 



Consuelo- 



Baron 



CONSUELO 

Please, don't. Get up. Please leave my hand alone. 



Consuelo ! 



Baron 



Consuelo 

[Disgusted] : Get up please, it's disgusting — 

you're so fat. 

[The Baron gets up. Voices are heard near the 
door and in the ring. It is the intermission. The 
clowns come first, talking cheerfully and excit- 
edly. HE leads them, in his clown's dress, with 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 55 

painted eyebrows and white nose; the others are 
applauding him. Voices of the actors calling: 
"Bravo! HE." Then come the actors and ac- 
tresses, riding-masters, and the rest, all in cos- 
tume. Zinida is not among them. Papa Bri- 
quet comes a little later.] 

Polly 
A hundred slaps ! Bravo, He ! 

Jackson 
Not bad, not bad at all. You'll make a career. 

Tilly 

He was the Professor to-day, and we were the stu- 
dents. Here goes another! [Gives him a clown's 
slap. Laughter. All bid good evening to the Baron. 
He is politely rude to these vagabonds who bore him, 
and remains silent. They seem quite used to it. Enter 
Mancini. He is the same, and with the same cane.~\ 

Mancini 

[Shaking hands] : What a success, Baron — and 
think of it — how the crowd does love slaps. [Whis- 
pering] Your knees are dusty, Baron, brush them 
off. The floor is very dirty in here. [Aloud] Con- 



56 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

suelo, dear child, how do you feel? [Goes over to his 
daughter. Sound of laughing, chattering. The 
waiters from the buffet in the lobby bring in soda and 
wine. Consuelo's voice is heard.] 

Consuelo 
And where is Bezano? 

He 

[Bows before the Baron, affecting intimacy] : You 
do not recognize me. Baron? 

Baron 
Yes I do. You are the clown, He. 

He 

Yes I am He Who Gets Slapped. May I presume 
to ask you, Baron, did you get your jewels back? 

Baron 

What! 

He 

I was asked to return some jewels to you, and I 

take the liberty of [The Baron turns his back 

on him — HE laughs loudly.] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 57 

Jackson 

Whiskey and soda! Believe me, ladies and gents, 
He will surely make a career. I am an old clown, and 
I know the crowd. Why to-day, he even eclipsed me 
— and clouds have covered my Sun. [Striking it.] 
They do not like puzzles, they want slaps ! They are 
longing for them and dreaming about them in their 
homes. Your health, He! Another whiskey and 
soda ! He got so many slaps to-day, there would be 
enough to go round the whole orchestra! 

Tilly 
I bet there wouldn't! [To Jackson] Shake! 

Polly 

I bet there wouldn't — I'll go and count the old 
mugs. 



A Voice 

The orchestra did not laugh- 



Jackson 

Because they were getting it, but the galleries did, 
because they were looking at the orchestra getting 
slapped. Your health, He! 



58 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Your's Jim! Tell me, why didn't you let me finish 
my speech — I was just getting a good start. 

Jackson 

[Seriously] : My friend, because your speech was 
a sacrilege. Politics — all right. Manners — as much 
as you want. But Providence — leave it in peace. 
And believe me, friend, I shut your mouth in time. 
Didn't I, Papa Briquet? 

Briquet 

[Coming nearer] : Yes. It was too much like 
literature. This is not an academy. You forget 
yourself, He. 

Tilly 

But to shut one's mouth — faugh. 

Briquet 

[In a didactic tone : Whenever one shuts one's 
mouth, it is always high time to shut it, unless one is 
drinking. Hey, whiskey and soda! 

Voices 
Whiskey and soda for the Manager! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 59 

Mancini 

But this is obscurantism. Philosophizing again, 
Briquet? 

Briquet 

I am not satisfied with you to-day, He. Why do 
you tease them? They don't like it. Your health! 
A good slap must be clean like a crystal — fft-fft ! 
right side, left side, and done with it. They will like 
it; they will laugh, and love you. But in your slaps 
there is a certain bite, you understand, a certain 
smell 

He 

But they laughed, nevertheless! 

Briquet 

But without pleasure, without pleasure, He. You 
pay, and immediately draw a draft on their bank; 
it's not the right game — they won't like you. 

Jackson 

That's what / tell him. He had already begun to 
make them angry. 

Bezano 

[Entering] : Consuelo, where are you ? I have 
been looking for you — come on. [Both go out. The 



60 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Babon, after hesitating a while, follows them, Man- 
cini accompanies him respectfully to the door.] 

He 

[Sighs] : You don't understand, my dear friends ; 
you are simply old, and have forgotten the smell of 
the stage. 

Jackson 
Aha! Who is old, my young man? 

He 

Don't be angry, Jim. It's a play, don't you under- 
stand? I become happy when I enter the ring and 
hear the music. I wear a mask and I feel humorous. 
There is a mask on my face, and I play. I may say 
anything like a drunkard. Do you understand? Yes- 
terday when I, with this stupid face, was playing the 
great man, the philosopher [he assumes a proud mon- 
umental pose, and repeats the gesture of the play — 
general laughter] I was walking this way, and was 
telling how great, how wise, how incomparable I was 
— how God lived in me, how high I stood above the 
earth — how glory shone above my head [his voice 
changes and he is speaking faster] then you, Jim, 
you hit me for the first time. And I asked you, 
"What is it, they're applauding me?" Then, at thfc 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 61 

tenth slap, I said: "It seems to me that they sent 
for me from the Academy?" [Acts, looking around 
him with an air of unconquerable pride and splendour. 
Laughter. Jackson gives him a real slap.] 

He 

[Holding his face] : Why ? 

Jackson 

Because you're a fool, and play for nothing. 
Waiter, the check. (Laughter. The bell calls them 
to the ring. The actors go out in haste, some run- 
ning. The waiters collect their money.) 

Briquet 

[In a sing-song] : To the ring — to the ring — 

Mancini 

I want to tell you something, He. You are not 

going yet? 

He 

No. I'll take a rest. 

Briquet 

To the ring — to the ring — 

[The clowns as they go sing in shrill, squeaky voices, 
Little by little they all disappear, and loud 



62 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

music begins. HE seats himself on the sofa with 
his legs crossed, and yawns.] 

Mancini 

He, you have something none of my ancestors ever 
had — money. Let's have a nice bottle on you. Waiter, 
please — [The waiter who was taking up dishes, brings 
a bottle of wine and glasses and goes out.] 

He 

You're blue, Mancini. [Stretches.] Well, at my 
age, a hundred slaps — it seems pretty hard. So 
you're blue. How are things getting on with your 
girl? 

Mancini 

Tss! Bad! Complications — parents — [shudders] 
Agh— 



Prison ! 



He 



Mancini 



[Laughing] : Prison ! Mustn't I uphold the glory 
of my name now, eh? He, I'm joking — but there is 
Hell in my heart. You're the only one who under- 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 63 

stands me. But tell me how to explain this passion? 
It will turn my hair grey, it'll bring me to prison, 
to the grave. I am a tragic man. He — [Wipes his 
eyes with a dirty handkerchief.'] Why don't I like 
things which are not forbidden? Why, at all mo- 
ments, even at the very moment of ecstasy, must I be 
reminded of some law — it is stupid. He, I am be- 
coming an anarchist. Good God! — Count Mancini, an 
anarchist. That's the only thing I've missed. 

He 

Isn't there a way of settling it somehow? 

Mancini 
Is there a way of getting money, somehow? 

He 

And the Baron? 

Mancini 

Oh, yes! He's just waiting for it, the blood- 
sucker! He'll get what he's after. Some day, you'll 
see me give him Consuelo for ten thousand francs, 
perhaps for five! 

He 

Cheap. 



64 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Mancini 

Did I say it was anything else? Do I want to do 
it? But these bourgeois are strangling me, they've 
got me by the throat. He, one can easily see that 
you're a gentleman, and of good society, you under- 
stand me — I showed you the jewels which I sent back 
to him — damn honesty — I didn't even dare change 
the stones, put false ones — 

He 

Why? 

Mancini 

It would have queered the game. Do you think he 
didn't weigh the diamonds when he got them back? 

He 

He will not marry her. 

Mancini 

Yes he will. You don't understand. [Laughs.] 
The first half of his life, this man had only appe- 
tites — now love's got him. If he does not get Con- 
suelo, he is lost, he is — like a withered narcissus. 
Plague take him with his automobiles. Did you see 
his car? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 65 

He 
I did. . ,. . Give Consuelo to the Jockey — 

Mancini 

To Bezano? [Laughs.] What nonsense you do 
talk! Oh, I know. It's your joke about Adam and 
Eve. But please stop it. It's clever, but it compro- 
mises the child. She told me about it. 

He 

Or give her to me. 

Mancini 

Have you a billion? [Laughs.] Ah, He, I'm not 
in the proper mood to listen to your clownish jokes — 
They say there are terrible jails in this country, and 
no discriminations are being made between people of 
my kind, and plain scoundrels. Why do you look 
at me like that? You're making fun of me? 

He 

No. 

Mancini 

I'll never get accustomed to those faces. You're 
so disgustingly made up. 



66 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

He will not marry her. You can be as proud as 
you please, Mancini, but he'll not marry her. What 
is Consuelo? She is not educated. When she is off 
her horse, any good housemaid from a decent house 
has nicer manners, and speaks better. [Nonchalant- 
ly] Don't you think she's stupid? 

Mancini 

No, she's not stupid. And you, He, are a fool. 
What need has a woman of intelligence? Why, He, 
you astonish me. Consuelo is an unpolished jewel, 
and only a real donkey does not notice her sparkle. 
Do you know what happened? I tried to begin to 
polish her — 

He 

Yes, you took a teacher. And what happened? 

Mancini 

[Nodding his head] : 1 was frightened — it went 
too fast — I had to dismiss him. Another month or 
two, and she would have kicked me out. [Laughs.] 
The clever old diamond merchants of Amsterdam keep 
their precious stones unpolished, and fool the thieves. 
My father taught me that. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 67 

He 

The sleep of a diamond. It is only sleeping, then. 
You are wise, Mancini. 

Mancini 

Do you know what blood flows in the veins of an 
Italian woman? The blood of Hannibal and Cor- 
sini — of a Borgia — and of a dirty Lombardi peas- 
ant — and of a Moor. Oh! an Italian woman is not 
of a lower race, with only peasants and gypsies be- 
hind her. All possibilities, all forms are included in 
her, as in our marvelous sculpture. Do you under- 
stand that, you fool? Strike here — out springs a 
washerwoman, or a cheap street girl whom you want 
to throw out, because she is sloppy and has a screechy 
voice. Strike there — but carefully and gently, for 
there stands a queen, a goddess, the Venus of the 
Capitol, who sings like a Stradivarius and makes you 
cry, idiot ! An Italian woman — 

He 

You're quite a poet, Mancini! But what will the 
Baron make of her? 

Mancini 

What? What? Make of her? A baroness, you 
fool! What are you laughing at? I don't get you? 






68 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

But I am happy that this lovesick beast is neither a 
duke nor a prince — or she would be a princess and 
I — what would become of me? A year after the wed- 
ding they would not let me even into the kitchen 
[laughing} not even into the kitchen! I, Count 
Mancini, and she a — a simple — 

He 

[Jumping up~\ : What did you say? You are not 
her father, Mancini? 

Mancini 

Tss — the devil — I am so nervous to-day! Heavens, 
who do you think I am? "Her father?" Of course 
[tries to laugh] how silly you are — haven't you no- 
ticed the family resemblance? Just look, the nose, 
the eyes — [Suddenly sighs deeply.] Ah, He! How 
unhappy I am! Think of it. Here I am, a gentle- 
man, nearly beaten in my struggle to keep up the 
honour of my name, of an old house, while there in 
the parquet — there sits that beast, an elephant with 
the eyes of a spider . . . and he looks at Consuelo 
. . . and . . . 

He 

Yes, yes, he has the motionless stare of a spider — 
you're right! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 69 

Mancini 

Just what I say — a spider! But I must, I shall 
compel him to marry her. You'll see — [Walking 
excitedly up and down, playing with his cane.'] 
You'll see! All my life I've been getting ready for 
this battle. [He continues to walk up and down. 
Silence. Outside, great stillness.] 

He 

[Listening] : Why is it so quiet out there? What 
a strange silence. 

Mancini 

[Disgusted] : I don't know. Out there it is 
quiet — but here [touching his forehead with his cane] 
here is storm, whirlwind. [Bends over the clown.] 
He, shall I tell you a strange thing — an unusual 
trick of nature? [Laughs, and looks very important.] 
For three centuries the Counts Mancini have had no 
children! [Laughs.] 

He 

Then how were you born? 

Mancini 

Sh! Silence! That is the secret of our sainted 
mothers! Ha-ha! We are too ancient a stock — too 



70 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

exquisitely refined to trouble ourselves with such 
things — matters in which a peasant is more competent 
than ourselves. [Enter an usher. .] What do you 
want? The manager is on the stage. 

The Usher 

Yes, sir. Baron Regnard wished me to give you 
this letter. 

Mancini 

The Baron? Is he there? 

The Usher 

Baron Regnard has left. There is no answer. 

Mancini 

[Opening the envelope, his hand shaking] : The 
devil — the devil! [The uslver is going,] 

He 

Just a minute. Why is there no music? This 
silence .. . . 

The Usher 

It is the act with Madame Zinida and her lions. 
[He goes. Mancini is reading the Baron's note for 
the second time.] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 71 

He 

What's the matter, Mancini? You shine like Jack- 



son's sun. 



Mancini 

What's the matter, did you ask? What's the mat- 
ter? What's the matter? [Balancing his cane, he 
takes steps like a ballet-dancer .] 

He 

Mancini! [Mancini rolls his eyes, makes faces 
dances.] Speak, you beast! 

Mancini 

[Holds out his hand] : Give me ten francs ! Quick 
— ten francs — here, come on. [Puts it automatically 
into his vest pocket. Listen, He! If in a month 
I don't have a car of my own, you may give me one 
of your slaps! 

He 
What! He's going to marry? He's decided? 

Mancini 

What do you mean by "decided?" [Laughs.] 
When a man has the rope about his neck, you don't 



72 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

ask him about his health ! Baron — [Stops suddenly, 
startled. Briquet is staggering in like a drunken 
man, his hand over his eyes.] 

He 

[Goes to him, touches his shoulder gently] : What 
is the matter, Papa Briquet? Tell me! 

Briquet 

[Groaning] : Oh, oh, I can't ... I can't . . . 
Ah— 

He 

Something has happened? You are ill? Please 
speak. 

Briquet 

I can't look at it ! [Takes his hands from his eyes, 
opens them wide.] Why does she do it? Ah, ah, 
why does she do it? She must be taken away; she is 
insane. I couldn't look at it. [Shivers.] They will 
tear her to pieces. He — her lions — they will tear 
her — 

Mancini 

Go on, Briquet. She is always like that. You 
act like a child. You ought to be ashamed. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 73 

Briquet 

No — > To-day she is mad! And what is the matter 
with the crowd? They are all like dead people — 
they're not even breathing. I couldn't stand it. 
Listen — what's that? [All listen. There is the same 
silence. 1 

Mancini 
[Disturbed] : I'll go and see. 

He 

[Yelling] : No! Don't! You can't look — damned 
profession ! Don't go. You will scorch her — every 
pair of eyes that looks at her — at her lions — no, no. 
It is impossible — it is a sacrilege. I ran away. . ., . 
He, they will tear her 

He 

[Tries to be cheerful] : Keep cool, Papa Briquet — 
I had no idea you were such a coward. You ought 
to be ashamed. Have a drink. Mancini, give him 
some wine. 

Briquet 

I don't want any. Heavens, if it were only 
over — [All listen.] I have seen many things in my 



74 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

life, but this . . . Oh, she is crazy. [All still listen. 
Suddenly the silence breaks, like a huge stone wall 
crashing. There is a thunder of appause, mixed with 
shouts, music, wild screams — half bestial, half human. 
The men give way, relieved. Briquet sinks to a seat.~\ 

Mancini 

[Nervous] : You see — you see — you old fool! 

Briquet 

[Softs and laughs] : I am not going to allow it 
any more! 

He 

Here she is! 
[Zinida walks in, alone. She looks like a drunken 
bacchante, or like a mad woman. Her hair falls 
over her shoulders dishevelled, one shoulder is un^ 
covered. She walks unseeing, though her eyes 
glow. She is like the living statue of a mad 
Victory. Behind her comes an actor, very pale, 
then two clowns, and a little later Consuelo and 
Bezano. All look at Zinida fearfully, as if they 
were afraid of a touch of her hand, or her great 
eyes.~\ 

Briquet 
[Shouting] : You are crazy — you're a mad woman ! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 75 

ZlNIDA 

I? No. Did you see? Did you see? Well? [She 
stands smiling, with the expression of a mad Victory.] 

Tilly 

[Plaintively] : Cut it out, Zinida. Go to the 
devil ! 

Zinida 

You saw, too! And! . . . what — 

Briquet 

Come home — come home. [To the others] You can 
do what you like here. Zinida, come home. 

Polly 
You can't go, Papa. There's still your number. 

Zinida 

[Her eyes meet those of Bezano] : Ah ! Bezano. 
[Laughs long and happily.] Bezano! Alfred! Did 
you see? My lions do love me! [Bezano, without 
answering, leaves the stage. Zinida seems to wither 
and grow dim, as a light being extinguished. Her 
smile fades, her eyes and face grow pale* Briquet 
anxiously bends over her.] 



76 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Briquet 

[In a slow voice]: A chair! [Zinida sits. Her 
head drops on Tier shoulder, her arms fall, she begins 
to shiver and tremble. Some one calls, "Cognac" — 
an actor runs to get it.] 

Briquet 
[Helpless] : What is the matter, Zinida darling? 

Mancini 

[Running about"] : She must quiet down. Get out, 
get out — vagabonds ! I'll fix everything, Papa Briquet. 
The wrap — where's the wrap? She's cold. [A clown 
hands it to him; they cover her.] 

Tilly 
[Timidly] : Wouldn't you like some moosic? 

Mancini 

[Giving her some cognac] : Drink, Duchess, drink! 
Drink it all — that's it. [Zinida drinks it like water, 
evidently not noticing the taste. She shivers. The 
clowns disappear one by one. Consuelo, with a sud- 
den -flexible movement, falls on her knees before Zinida 
and kisses her hands, warming them between her own.] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 77 

CONSUELO 

Dear, dear, you are cold! Poor little hands, dear 
good one, beloved one 

Zinida 

[Pushes her away, gently'] : Ho — home. It will 
soon be over. It's nothing ... I am ver — very 
. . . home. . . . You stay here, Briquet — 
you must. I'm all right. 

Consuelo 
You are cold? Here is my shawl. 

Zinida 

No — let me. ,.. . ... [Consuelo gets up, and moves 

aside. ,] 

Briquet 

And it's all because of your books, Zinida — your 
mythology. Now tell me, why do you want those 
beasts to love you? Beasts! Do you understand, 
He? You too, you're from that world. She'll listen 
more to you. Explain it to her. Whom can those 
beasts love? Those hairy monsters, with diabolic 
eyes? 



78 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

[Genially] : I believe — only their equals. You are 
right, Papa Briquet — there must be the same race. 

Briquet 

Of course, and this is all nonsense — literature. Ex- 
plain it to her, He. 

He 

[Takes on a meditative air] : Yes, you are right, 
Briquet. 

Briquet 

You see, dear, silly woman — everybody agrees. . . . 

Mancini 

Oh! Briquet, you make me sick; you are an abso- 
lute despot, an Asiatic. 

Zinida 

[With the shadow of a smile, gives her hand to be 
kissed] : Calm yourself, Louis. It is over — I am 
going home. [She stands up, shaking, still chilled.] 

Briquet 
But how? alone, dear? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 79 

Mancini 

What! fool! Did you imagine that Count Mancini 
would leave a woman when she needed help? / shall 
take her home — let your brutal heart be at rest — I 
shall take her home. Thomas, run for an automobile. 
Don't push me Briquet, you are as awkward as a 

unicorn . . . that's the way, that's the way 

[They are holding her, guiding her slowly toward the 
door. Consueeo, her chin resting in her hand, is 
following them with her eyes. Unconsciously she as- 
sumes a somewhat affected pose.~\ 

Mancini 
I'll come back for you, child 



[Only HE and Consuelo are left on the stage. In 
the ring, music, shrieks, and laughter begin 
again.] 



He 



Consuelo- 



Consuelo 
Is that you, He, dear? 

He 

Where did you learn that pose ? I have seen it only 
in marble. You look like Psyche. 



80 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

I don't know, He. [She sighs and sits on the sofa, 
keeping in her pose the same artificiality and beauty.] 
It's all so sad here, to-day. He, are you sorry for 
Zinid a ? 

He 

What did she do? 

Consuelo 

I didn't see. I had closed my eyes, and didn't open 
them. Alfred says she is a wicked woman, but that 
isn't true. She has such nice eyes, and what tiny cold 
hands — as if she were dead. What does she do it for? 
Alfred says she should be audacious, beautiful, but 
quiet, otherwise what she does is only disgusting. It 
isn't true, is it, He? 



She loves Alfred. 



He 



CONSUELO 



Alfred? My Bezano? [Shrugging her shoulders, 
and surprised] How does she love him? The same 
as everyone loves? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 81 

He 

Yes — as everyone loves — or still more. 

Consuelo 

Bezano? Bezano? No — it's nonsense. [Pause; 
silence.] What a beautiful costume you have, He. 
You invented it yourself? 

He 

Jim helped me. 

Consuelo 
Jim is so nice ! All clowns are nice. 

He 

I am wicked. 

Consuelo 

[Laughs] : You? You are the nicest of all. Oh, 
goodness! Three acts more! This is the second on 
now. Alfred and I are in the third. Are you coming 
to see me? 

He 

I always do. How beautiful you are, Consuelo. 



82 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

Like Eve? [Smiles.] 

He 

Yes, Consuelo. And if the Baron asks you to be his 
wife, will you accept? 

Consuelo 

Certainly, He. That's all Father and I are wait- 
ing for. Father told me yesterday that the Baron 
will not hesitate very long. Of course I do not love 
him. But I will be his honest, faithful wife. Father 
wants to teach me to play the piano. 

He 

Are those your own words — "his honest, faithful 
wife"? 

Consuelo 

Certainly they are mine. Whose could they be? 
He loves me so much, the poor thing. Dear He, 
what does "love" mean? Everybody speaks of love — 
love — Zinida, too ! Poor Zinida ! What a boring eve- 
ning this has been! He, did you paint the laughter 
on your face yourself? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 85 

He 

My own self, dear little Consuelo 

Consuelo 

How do you do it, all of you? I tried once, but 
couldn't do a thing. Why are there no women 
clowns? Why are you so silent, He? You, too, are 
sad, to-night. 

He 

No, I am happy to-night. Give me your hand, 
Consuelo, I want to see what it says. 

Consuelo 

Do you know how? What a talented man you are! 
Read it, but don't lie, like a gypsy. [He goes down 
on one knee and takes her hand. Both bend over it.~\ 
Am I lucky? 

He 

Yes, lucky. But wait a minute — this line here — 
funny. Ah, Consuelo, what does it say, here! [Act- 
ing'] I tremble, my eyes do not dare to read the 
strange, fatal signs. Consuelo — ■ 

Consuelo 
The stars are talking. 



84 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Yes, the stars are talking. Their voices are distant 
and terrible; their rays are pale, and their shadows 
slip by, like the ghosts of dead virgins — their spell is 
upon thee, Consuelo, beautiful Consuelo. Thou stand- 
est at the door of Eternity. 

Consuelo 

I don't understand. Does it mean that I will live 
long? 

He 

This line — how far it goes. Strange! Thou wilt 
live eternally, Consuelo. 

Consuelo 
You see, He, you did tell me a lie, just like a 

gypsy ! 

He 

But it is written — here, silly — and Here. Now 
think of what the stars are saying. Here you have 
eternal life, love, and glory ; and here, listen to what 
Jupiter says. He says: "Goddess, thou must not 
belong to any one born on earth," and if you marry 
the Baron — you'll perish, you'll die, Consuelo. [Con- 
suelo laughs. ] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 85 

CONSUELO 

Will he eat me? 

He 
No. But you will die before he has time to eat you. 

Consuelo 

And what will become of Father? Is there nothing 
about him here? [Laughing, she softly sings the mel- 
ody of the waltz, which is playing in the distance.] 

He 

Don't laugh, Consuelo, at the voice of the stars. 
They are far away, their rays are light and pale, and 
we can barely see their sleeping shadows, but their 
sorcery is stern and dark. You stand at the gates of 
eternity. Your die is cast ; you are doomed — and your 
Alfred, whom you love in your heart, even though 
your mind is not aware of it, your Alfred cannot save 
you. He, too, is a stranger on this earth. He is 
submerged in a deep sleep. He, too, is a little god 
who has lost himself, and Consuelo, never, never will 
he find his way to Heaven again. Forget Bezano 

Consuelo 

I don't understand a word. Do the gods really 
exist? My teacher told me about them. But I 



86 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

thought it was all tales! [Laughs.] And my Bezano 
is a god? 

He 

Forget Bezano! Consuelo, do you know who can 
save you? The only one who can save you? I. 

Consuelo 
[Laughing] : You, He? 

He 

Yes, but don't laugh ! Look. Here is the letter H. 
It is I, He. 

Consuelo 
He Who Gets Slapped? Is that written here, too? 

He 

That, too. The stars know everything. But look 
here, what more is written about him. Consuelo, wel- 
come him. He is an old god in disguise, who came 
down to earth only to love you, foolish little Consuelo. 

Consuelo 
[Laughing and singing] : Some god ! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 87 

He 

Don't mock ! The gods don't like such empty 
laughter from beautiful lips. The gods grow lonely 
and die, when they are not recognized. Oh, Consuelo ! 
Oh, great joy and love! Do recognize this god, and 
accept him. Think a moment, one day a god suddenly 
went crazy! 

Consuelo 
Gods go crazy, too? 

He 

Yes, when they are half man, then they often go 
mad. Suddenly he saw his own sublimity, and shud- 
dered with horror, with infinite solitude, with super- 
human anguish. It is terrible, when anguish touches 
the divine soul! 

Consuelo 

I don't like it. What language are you speaking? 
I don't understand 

He 

I speak the language of thy awakening. Consuelo, 
recognize and accept thy god, who was thrown down 
from the summit like a stone. Accept the god who fell 



88 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

to the earth in order to live, to play, and to be infinitely 
drunk with joy. Evoe Goddess! 



Consuelo 

[Tortured] : He — I cannot understand. Let my 
hand alone. 

He 

[Stands wp\ : Sleep. Then wake again, Consuelo ! 
And when thou wakest — remember that hour when, 
covered with snow-white sea-foam, thou didst emerge 
from the sky-blue waters. Remember heaven, and the 
slow eastern wind, and the whisper of the foam at thy 
marble feet. 

Consuelo 

[Her eyes are closed] : I believe — wait — I remem- 
ber. Remind me further 

[HE is bowed over Consuelo, with lifted arms; he 

speaks slowly, but in a commanding voice, as if 

conjuring.] 

He 

You see the waves playing. Remember the song of 
the sirens, their sorrowless song of joy. Their white 
bodies, shining blue through the blue waters. Or can 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 89 

you hear the sun, singing? Like the strings of a 
divine harp, spread the golden rays — Do you not 
see the hand of God, which gives harmony, light, and 
love to the world? Do not the mountains, in the blue 
cloud of incense, sing their hymn of glory? Remem- 
ber, O Consuelo, remember the prayer of the moun- 
tains, the prayer of the sea. [Silence.] 

He 

[Commandingly] : Remember — Consuelo ! 

Consuelo 

[Opening her eyes]: No! He, I was feeling so 
happy, and suddenly I forgot it all. Yet something 
of it all is still in my heart. Help me again, He, 
remind me. It hurts, I hear so many voices. They 
all sing "Consuelo — Consuelo." What comes after? 
[Silence; pause.] What comes after? It hurts. Re- 
mind me, He. [Silence — in the ring, the music sud- 
denly bursts forth in a tempestuous circus gallop. 
Silence.'] He, [opens her eyes and smiles] that's Al- 
fred galloping. Do you recognize his music? 

He 

[With rage]: Leave the boy alone! [Suddenly 
falls on his knees before Consuelo.] I love you, Con- 
suelo, revelation of my heart, light of my nights, I 



90 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

love you, Consuelo. [Looks at her in ecstasy and 
tears — and gets a slap; starting back.] What's this? 

Consuelo 

A slap! You forget who you are. [Stands up, 
with anger in her eyes.] You are He Who Gets 
Slapped! Did you forget it? Some god! With such 
a face — slapped face! Was it with slaps they threw 
you down from heaven, god? 

He 

Wait! Don't stand up! I — did not finish the play! 

Consuelo 
[£i£s] : Then you were playing? 

He 

Wait! One minute. 

Consuelo 

You lied to me. Why did you play so that I 
believed you? 

He 

I am He Who Gets Slapped! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 91 

CONSUELO 

You are not angry because I struck you? I did 
not want to really, but you were so — disgusting. And 
now you are so funny again. You have great talent, 
He — or are you drunk? 



Strike me again. 



No. 



He 



CONSUELO 



He 

I need it for my play. Strike ! 

Consuelo 

[Laughs, and touches his cheek with her finger- 
tips] : Here, then ! 

He 

Didn't you understand that you are a queen, and I 
a fool who is in love with his queen? Don't you know, 
Consuelo, that every queen has a fool, and he is always 
in love with her, and they always beat him for it. He 
Who Gets Slapped. 



92 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

No. I didn't know. 

He 

Yes, every queen. Beauty has her fool. Wisdom, 
too. Oh, how many fools she has ! Her court is over- 
crowded with enamoured fools, and the sound of slaps 
does not cease, even through the night. But I never 
received such a sweet slap as the one given by my 
little queen. [Someone appears at the door. HE 
notices it, and continues to play, making many faces.~\ 
Clown He can have no rival ! Who is there who could 
stand such a deluge of slaps, such a hail-storm of 
slaps, and not get soaked? [Feigns to cry aloud.] 
"Have pity on me. I am but a poor fool!" 
[Enter two men: an actor, dressed as a bareback 
rider, and a gentleman from the audience. He is 
spare, dressed in black, very respectable. He 
carries his hat in his hand.] 

Consuelo 

[Laughing, embarrassed] : He, there is someone 
here. Stop ! 

He 

[Gets up]: Who is it? Who dares to intrude in 
the castle of my queen? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 93 

[HE stops, suddenly. Consuelo, laughing, jumps up 
and runs away, after a quick glance at the gen- 
tleman.] 

Consuelo 

You cheered me up, He. Good-bye. [At the door] 
You shall get a note to-morrow. 

The Bareback Rider 

[Laughing] : A jolly fellow, sir. You wanted to 
see him? There he is. He, the gentleman wants to see 
you. 

He 

[In a depressed voice] : What can I do for you ? 
[The actor bows, and goes away, smiling. Both men 
take a step toward each other.] 



Gentleman 
Is this you? 

He 

Yes! It is I. And you? [Silence.'] 

Gentleman 
Must I believe my eyes? Is this you, Mr. 



94 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

[In a ra*ge] : My name here is He. I have no 
other name, do you hear? He Who Gets Slapped. 
And if you want to stay here, don't forget it. 

Gentleman 
You are so familiar. As far as I can remember 



He 

We are all familiar, here. [Contemptuously] Be- 
sides, that's all you deserve, anywhere. 

Gentleman 

[Humbly]: You have not forgiven me, He? 
[Silence.] 

He 

Are you here with my wife? Is she, too, in the 
circus ? 

Gentleman 

[Quickly] : Oh, no ! I am alone. She stayed 
there ! 

He 

You've left her already? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 95 

Gentleman 

[Humbly] : No — we have — a son. After your 
sudden and mysterious disappearance — when you left 
that strange and insulting letter 

He 

[Laughs] : Insulting? You are still able to feel 
insults? What are you doing here? Were you look- 
ing for me, or is it an accident? 

Gentleman 

I have been looking for you, for half a year — 
through many countries. And suddenly, to-day — by 
accident, indeed — I had no acquaintances here, and I 
went to the circus. We must talk things over . . . 
He, I implore you. [Silence.] 

He 

Here is a shadow I cannot lose! To talk things 

over! Do you really think we still have something to 

talk over? All right. Leave your address with the 

porter, and I will let you know when you can see me. 

Now get out. [Proudly.] I am busy. 

[The gentleman bows and leaves. HE does not return 

his bow, but stands with outstretched hand, in the 

pose of a great man, who shows a boring visitor 

the door.] 

Curtain 



ACT III 

The same room. Morning, before the rehearsal. 
HE is striding thoughtfully up and down the room. 
He wears a broad, parti-coloured coat, and a pris- 
matic tie. His derby is on the back of his head, and 
his face is clean-shaven like that of an actor. His 
eyebrows are drawn, lips pressed together energeti- 
cally, his whole appearance severe and sombre. After 
the entrance of the gentleman he changes. His face 
becomes clown-like, mobile — a living mask. 

The gentleman comes in. He is dressed in black, 
and has an extremely well-bred appearance. His thin 
face is yellowish, like an invalid's. When he is upset, 
his colourless, dull eyes often twitch. HE does not 
notice him. 

Gentleman 
Good morning, sir. 

He 

[Turning around and looking at him absent-mind- 
edly] : Ah ! It's you. 

96 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 97 

Gentleman 

I am not late? You look as if you did not expect 
me. I hope I am not disturbing you? You fixed this 
time yourself however, and I took the liberty 

He 

No manners, please. What do you want? Tell me 
quickly, I have no time. 

Gentleman 

[Looking around with distaste] : I expected you 
would invite me to some other place ... to your 
home. 

He 

I have no other home. This is my home. 

Gentleman 
But people may disturb us here. 

He 
So much the worse for you. Talk faster ! [Silence,'] 

Gentleman 
Will you allow me to sit down? 



98 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Sit down. Look out! That chair is broken. 
[The gentleman, afraid, pushes away the chair and 
looks helplessly around. Everything here seems 
to him dangerous and strange. He chooses an 
apparently solid little gilded divan, and sits 
dozen; puts his silk hat aside, slowly takes off his 
gloves, which stick to his fingers. HE observes 
him indifferently.'] 

Gentleman 

In this suit, and with this face, you make a still 
stranger impression. Yesterday it seemed to me that 
it was all a dream ; to-day . . . you 

He 

You have forgotten my name again? My name 
is He. 

Gentleman 

You are determined to continue talking to me like 
this? 

He 

Decidedly! But you are squandering your time 
like a millionaire. Hurry up ! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 99 

Gentleman 

I really don't know . . . Everything here strikes 
me so These posters, horses, animals, which 

I passed when I was looking for you . . . And 
finally, you, a. clown in a circus! [With a slight, 
deprecating smile.~\ Could I expect it? It is true, 
when everybody there decided that you were dead, I 
was the only man who did not agree with them. I 
felt that you were still alive. But to find you among 
such surroundings — I can't understand it. 

He 

You said you have a son, now. Doesn't he look 
like me? 

Gentleman 

I don't understand? 

He 

Don't you know that widows or divorced women 
often have children by the new husband, which re- 
semble the old one? This misfortune did not befall 
you? [Laughs.] And your book, too, is a big suc- 
cess, I hear. 

Gentleman 
You want to insult me again? 



100 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

[Laughing'] : What a restless, touchy faker you 
are ! Please sit still ; be quiet. It is the custom here 
to speak this way. Why were you trying to find me? 

Gentleman 

My conscience 

He 

You have no conscience. Or were you afraid that 
you hadn't robbed me of everything I possessed, and 
you came for the rest? But what more could you 
take from me now? My fool's cap with its bells? You 
wouldn't take it. It's too big for your bald head! 
Crawl back, you book-worm ! 

Gentleman 
You cannot forgive the fact that your wife 

He 

To the devil with my wife ! [The gentleman is startled 
and raises his eyebrows. HE laughs.] 

Gentleman 

I don't know. . . . But such language! I 
confess I find difficulty in expressing my thoughts in 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 101 

such an atmosphere, but if you are so . in- 

different to jour wife, who, I shall allow myself to 
emphasize the fact, loved you and thought you were a 

saint [HE laughs.] Then what brought you to 

such a . step? Or is it that you cannot for- 

give me my success? A success, it is true, not entirely 
deserved. And now you want to take vengeance, with 
your humbleness, on those who misunderstood you. 
But you always were so indifferent to glory. Or your 
indifference was only hypocrisy. And when I, a more 
lucky rival . . . 

He 

[With a burst of laughter']: Rival! You — a 
rival ! 

Gentleman 
[Growing pale] : But my book ! 

He 

You are talking to me about your book? To me? 
[The gentleman is very pale. HE looks at him with 
curiosity and mockery.] 

Gentleman 
[Raising his eyes] : I am a very unhappy man. 



102 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Why? 

Gentleman 

I am a very unhappy man. You must forgive me. 
I am deeply, irreparably, and infinitely unhappy. 

He 

But why? Explain it to me. [Starts walking up 
and down.] You say yourself that your book is a 
tremendous success, you are famous, you have glory; 
there is not a yellow newspaper in which you and your 
thoughts are not mentioned. Who knows me? Who 
cares about my heavy abstractions, from which it was 
difficult for them to derive a single thought? You — 
you are the great vulgarizer! You have made my 
thoughts comprehensible even to horses ! With the art 
of a great vulgarizer, a tailor of ideas, you dressed 
my Apollo in a barber's jacket, you handed my Venus 
a yellow ticket, and to my bright hero you gave the 
ears of an ass. And then your career is made, as 
Jackson says. And wherever I go, the whole street 
looks at me with thousands of faces, in which — what 
mockery — I recognize the traits of my own children. 
Oh! How ugly your son must be, if he resembles me! 
Why then are you unhappy, you poor devil? [The 
gentleman bows his head, plucking at his gloves. ,] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 103 

The police haven't caught you, as yet. What am I 
talking about? Is it possible to catch you? You 
always keep within the limits of the law. You have 
been torturing yourself up to now because you are 
not married to my wife. A notary public is always 
present at your thefts. What is the use of this self- 
torture, my friend? Get married. I died. You are 
not satisfied with having taken only my wife? Let 
my glory remain in your possession. It is yours. Ac- 
cept my ideas. Assume all the rights, my most lawful 
heir! I died! And when I was dying [making a 
stupidly pious face] I forgave thee! [Bursts out 
laughing. The gentleman raises his head, and bend- 
ing forward, looks straight into HE's eyes.] 

Gentleman 
And my pride? 

He 
Have you any pride? [The gentleman straightens 
up, and nods his head silently. ] Yes! But please stand 
off a little. I don't like to look at you. Think of it. 
There was a time when I loved you a little, even thought 
you a little gifted! You — my empty shadow. 

Gentleman 
[Nodding his head] : I am your shadow. [HE 
keeps on walking, and looks over his shoulder at the 
gentleman, with a smile.] 



104* HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Oh, you are marvellous! What a comedy! What 
a touching comedy! Listen. Tell me frankly if you 
can ; do you hate me very much ? 

Gentleman 

Yes! With all the hate there is in the world! Sit 
down here. 

He 

You order me? 

Gentleman 

Sit down here. Thank you. [Bows.~\ I am re- 
spected and I am famous, yes? I have a wife and a 
son, yes. [Laughs slowly.] My wife still loves you: 
our favourite discussion is about your genius. She 
supposes you are a genius. We, I and she, love you 
even when we are in bed. Tss ! It is I who must 
make faces. My son — yes, he'll resemble you. And 
when, in order to have a little rest, I go to my desk, 
to my ink-pot, my books — there, too, I find you. Al- 
ways you! Everywhere you! And I am never alone 
— never myself and alone. And when at night — you, 
sir, should understand this — when at night I go to 
my lonely thoughts, to my sleepless contemplations, 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 105 

even then I find your image in my head, in my un- 
fortunate brain, your damned and hateful image! 
[Silence. The gentleman's eyes twitch.] 

He 

[Speaking slowly] : What a comedy. How mar- 
vellously everything is turned about in this world: 
the robbed proves to be a robber, and the robber is 
complaining of theft, and cursing! [Laughs.] Lis- 
ten, I was mistaken. You are not my shadow. You 
are the crowd. If you live by my creations, you hate 
me ; if you breathe my breath, you are choking with 
anger. And choking with anger, hating me, you still 
walk slowly on the trail of my ideas. But you are 
advancing backward, advancing backward, comrade! 
Oh, what a marvellous comedy! [Walking and smil- 
ing.] Tell me, would you be relieved if I really had 
died? 

Gentleman 

Yes! I think so. Death augments distance and 
dulls the memory. Death reconciles. But you . do not 
look like a man who 

He 

Yes, yes! Death, certainly! 



106 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Gentleman 
Sit down here. 

He 

Your obedient servant. Yes? 

Gentleman 

Certainly, I do not dare to ask you — [makes a 
grimace] to ask you to die, but tell me: you'll never 
come back there? No, don't laugh. If you want me 
to, I'll kiss your hand. Don't grimace! I would 
have done so if you had died. 

He 

[Slowly] : Get out, vermin ! 
[Enter Tilly and Polly as in the first act, playing. 
For a long time they do not see the two men.] 

He 
Jack! 

Tilly 

Ah! Good morning, He. We are rehearsing. You 
know it is very hard. Jack has just about as much 
music in his head as my pig. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 107 

He 

[Introducing, nonchalantly] : My friend 
For the benefit performance? [The clowns bow to the 
gentleman, making idiotic faces.] 

Polly 

Yes. What are you preparing? You are cunning, 
He! Consuelo told me what you are preparing for 
the benefit performance. She leaves us soon, you 
know? 

He 
Is that so? 

Tilly 

Zinida told us. Do you think she would get a 
benefit performance otherwise? She is a nice girl. 

Polly 

[Taking his small flute-pipe] : Here ! Don't walk 
as if you were an elephant. Don't forget you are an 
ant! Come on! [They go off, playing.] 

Gentleman 

[Smiling] : These are your new comrades? How 
strange they are! 



108 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Everything here is strange. 

Gentleman 

This suit of yours. Black used to be very becoming 
to you. This one hurts the eyes. 

He 

[Looking himself over] : Why? It looks very nice. 
The rehearsal has begun. You must go away. You 
are disturbing us. 

Gentleman 

You did not answer my question. 
[Slow strains of the Tango from a small orchestra in 
the ring.'] 

He 

[Listening absent-mindedly to the music] : What 
question ? 

Gentleman 

[Who does not hear the music]'. I pray you to 
tell me: will you ever come back? 

He 

[Listening to the music]: Never, never, never! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 109 

Gentleman 
[Getting up] : Thank you. I am going. 

He 

Never, never, never! Yes, run along. And don't 
come back. There you were still bearable and useful 
for something, but here you are superfluous. 

Gentleman 

But if something should happen to you . . . 
you are a healthy man, but in this environment, these 
people . . . how will I know? They don't know 
your name here? 

He 

My name here is unknown, but you will know. 
Anything else? 

Gentleman 

I can be at peace? On your word of honour? Of 
course I mean, comparatively, at peace? 

He 

Yes, you may be comparatively at peace. Never! 
[They walk to the door, the gentleman stops.] 



110 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Gentleman 

May I come to the circus? You will allow me? 

He 

Certainly. You are the audience! [Laughs.'] But 
I shan't give you my card for a pass. But why do 
you want to come? Or do you like the circus so 
much, and since when? 

Gentleman 

I want to look at you some more, and to under- 
stand, perhaps. Such a transformation ! Knowing 
you as I do, I cannot admit that you are here without 
any idea. But what idea? [Looks shortsightedly at 
HE. HE grimaces and thumbs his nose.] 

Gentleman 

What is that? 

He 

My idea! Good-bye, Prince! My regards to your 
respected wife, your Highness' wonderful son ! 
[Enter Mancinl] 

Mancini 

You positively live in the circus, He. Whenever I 
come, you are here. You are a fanatic in your work, 
sir. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 111 

He 

[Introducing] : Prince Poniatovsky, Count Man- 
cini. 

Mancini 

[Drawing himself up] : Very, very glad. And you 
too, Prince, you know my queer fellow? What a nice 
face he has, hasn't he? [He touches HE'S shoulder 
patronizingly, with the tip of his cane.] 

Gentleman 

[Awkwardly] : Yes, I have the pleasure . . . 
eertainly. Good-bye, Count. 

Mancini 
Good-day, Prince. 

He 

[Accompanying him] : Look out, your Highness, 
for the dark passages: the steps are so rotten. Un- 
fortunately I cannot usher you out to the street. 

Gentleman 

[In a low voice] : You will not give me your hand 
when we say good-bye? We are parting for ever. 



112 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Unnecessary, Prince. I shall still hope to meet you 
in the Kingdom of Heaven. I trust you will be there, 
too? 

Gentleman 

[With disgust] : How you did succeed! You have 
so much of the clown in you! * 

He 

I am He Who is Getting Slapped. Good-bye, 
Prince. [They take another step.] 

Gentleman 

[Looking HE in the eyes; in a very low voice]: 
Tell me, you are not mad? 

He 

[Just as low, his eyes wide open] : I am afraid, I 
am afraid you are right, Prince. [Still low] Ass! 
Never in your life did you use such a precise expres- 
sion. I am mad! 

[Playing the clown again, he shows him to the stair, 
with a big, affected gesture, a sweep of the hand 
and arm from his head to the floor, the fingers 
moving, to represent the steps.] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED US 

He 

[Laughing'] : He is down ! Au revolt, Prince. 
[The gentleman goes out. HE comes skipping back, 
and takes a pose.] Mancini! Let us dance the 
Tango! Mancini, I adore you! 

Mancini 

[Sitting back comfortably and playing with his 
cane] : Don't forget yourself, He. But you're hid- 
ing something, my boy. I always said you used to 
belong to society. It is so easy to talk to you. And 
who is this Prince? A genuine one? 

He 

Genuine. A first-rater. Like you! 

Mancini 

A sympathetic face. Although at first I thought 
he was an undertaker who came for an order. Ah, 
He! When shall I finally depart from these dirt}' 
walls, from Papa Briquet, stupid posters, and brutal 
jockeys! 

He 

.Very soon, Mancini. 



114 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Mancini 

Yes, soon. I am simply exhausted in these sur- 
roundings, He ! I begin to feel myself a horse. You 
are from society, still you don't yet know what high 
society means. To be at last decently dressed, to 
attend receptions, to display the splendour of wit; 
from time to time to have a game of baccarat {laugh- 
ing'] without tricks or cheating 

He 

And when evening comes, go to a suburb, where you 
are considered an honest father, who loves his children 
and 

Mancini 

And get hold of something, eh? [Laughs J] I 
shall wear a silk mask and two butlers shall follow me, 
thus protecting me from the dirty crowd. Ah, He! 
The blood of my ancestors boils in me. Look at this 
stiletto. What do you think? Do you think that it 
was ever stained with blood? 

He 

You frighten me, Count ! 

Mancini 

[Laughing, and putting the stiletto back into its 
sheath] : Fool ! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 115 

He 

And what about the girl? 

Mancini 

Tss! I give those bourgeois absolute satisfaction, 
and they glorify my name. [Laughs.] The splen- 
dour of my name is beginning to shine with a force 
unknown. By the way, do you know what automobile 
firms are the best? Money is no object. [Laughs.] 
Ah ! Papa Briquet ! 

[Enter Briquet in his overcoat and silk hat. They 
shake hands.] 

Briquet 

So, Mancini, you have obtained a benefit perform- 
ance for your daughter, Consuelo! I only want to 
tell you, that if it were not for Zinida . . . 

Mancini 

Listen, Briquet. Decidedly you are a donkey. 
What are you complaining of? The Baron has 
bought all the parquet seats for Consuelo's benefit 
performance. Isn't that enough for you, you miser? 

Briquet 

I love your daughter, Mancini, and I am sorry to 
let her go. What more does she need here? She has 



116 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

an honest job, wonderful comrades, and the atmos- 
phere — ? 

Mancini 

Not she, but / need something. You understand? 
[Laughs.] I asked you to increase her salary, Har- 
pagon ! and now, Mr. Manager, wouldn't you like tc 
change me a thousand franc note? 

Briquet 
[With a sigh] : Give it to me. 

Mancini 

[Nonchalantly] : To-morrow. I left it at home. 

[All three laugh.] Laugh, laugh! To-day we are 

going with the Baron to his villa in the country; 
people say a very nice villa. 

He 

What for? 

Mancini 

You know, He, the crazes of these billionaires. He 
wants to show Consuelo some winter roses, and me his 
wine cellars. He will come for us here. What is the 
matter, my little Consuelo? 
[Enter Consuelo, almost crying.] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 117 

CONSUELO 

I can't father! Tell him! What right has he to 
yell at me ? He almost hit me with his whip ! 

Mancini 

[Straightening up~\ : Briquet ! I beg of you, as 
the Manager, what is this — a stable? To hit my 
daughter with a whip ! I'll show this cub ... a 
mere jockey. . . . No, the devil knows what it is, 
devil knows, I swear. . . . 

Consuelo 
Father . . . 

Briquet 
I will tell him. 

Consuelo 

Please don't. Alfred didn't hit me. It's a silly 
thing, what I told you. What an idea! He is so 
sorry himself. . . . 

Briquet 
I shall tell him anyhow that 



Consuelo 

Don't you dare. You mustn't tell him anything. 
He didn't do a thing. 



118 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Mancini 
[Still excited] : He must beg her pardon, the brat. 

Consuelo 

He's already asked me to forgive him. How silly 
3'ou all are! I simply cannot work to-day and I got 
nervous. What nonsense ! The silly boy asked me to 
forgive him, but I didn't want to. He, dear, good 
morning! I didn't notice you. How becoming your 
tie is! Where are you going, Briquet? To Alfred? 

Briquet 

No, I am going home, dear child. Zinida asked me 
to give you her love. She will not be here to-day, 
either. [He goes out.] 

Consuelo 

Zinida is so nice, so good. Father, why is it that 
everybody seems so nice to me? Probably because I 
am going away soon. He, did you hear the march 
that Tilly and Polly will play? [Laughs.] Such a 
cheerful one. 

He 

Yes. I heard it. Your benefit performance will be 
remarkable. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 119 

CONSUELO 

I think so, too. Father I am hungry. Have them 
bring me a sandwich. 

He 

111 run for it, my Queen. 

Consuelo 

Please do, He. [Loudly] But not cheese. I don't 
like it. 
[Mancini and Consuelo are alone. Mancini, lying 

back comfortably in an armchair, scrutinizes his 

daughter with a searching eye.~\ 

Mancini 

I find something particular in you to-day, my child. 
I don't know whether it is something better or worse. 
You cried? 

Consuelo 
Yes, a little. Oh, I am so hungry. 

Mancini 
But you had your breakfast? 



120 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

No, I didn't. That's why I am so hungry. You 
again forgot to leave me some money this morning, 
and without money . 

Mancini 

Oh, the devil . . . what a memory I have. 
[Laughs. 1 But we shall have a very nice meal to-day. 
Don't eat very many sandwiches. . . . Yes, posi- 
tively I like you. You must cry more often, my child; 
it washes off your superfluous simplicity. You be- 
come more of a woman. 

Consuelo 
Am I so simple, Father? 

Mancini 

Very. . . . Too much. I like it in others, but 
not in you. Besides, the Baron • • . 

Consuelo 

Nonsense. I am not simple. But you know, Be- 
zano scolded me so much, that even you would have 
cried. The devil knows . . . 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 121 

Mancini 

Tsss. . . . Never say "the devil knows." It 
isn't decent. 

Consuelo 

I say it only when I am with you. 

Mancini 

You must not say it when you are with me, either. 
I know it without you. [Laughs. ,] 

Consuelo 

Ha ! Listen, Father ! It's a new number of Alfred's. 
He makes such a jump! Jim says he's bound to break 
his neck. Poor fish. . . . 

Mancini 

[Indifferently] : Or his leg, or his back ; they all 
have to break something. [Laughs.] They are 
breakable toys. 

Consuelo 

[Listening to the music~\ : I'll be lonesome without 
them, Father! The Baron promised to make a ring 
for me to gallop over as much as I want. He's not 
lying? 



122 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Mancini 

A ring? [Laughs.] No, it's not a lie. By the 
way, child, when speaking of Barons, you must say 
"he does not tell the truth," and not, "he lies." 

CONSUELO 

It's just the same. It's nice to be wealthy, Father: 
you can do what you want, then. 

Mancini 

[With enthusiasm] : Everything you want. Every- 
thing, my child. Ah! Our fate is being decided to- 
day. Pray our clement God, Consuelo. The Baron is 
hanging on a thread. 

Consuelo 
[Indifferently] : Yes? 

Mancini 

[Making the gesture with his fingers] : On a very 
thin, silk thread. I am almost sure that he will make 
his proposal to-day. [Laughs.] Winter roses, and 
the web of a spider amongst the roses, in order that 
my dear little % ... He is such a spider. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 123 

CONSUELO 

[Indifferently'] : Yes, a terrible spider. Father, 
oughtn't I to let him kiss my hand yet? 

By no means. You don't know yet, darling, what 
these men are. 

Consueeo 
Alfred never kisses. 

Mancini 

Alfred! Your Alfred is a cub, and he mustn't dare. 
But with men of that sort, you must be extremely 
careful, my child. To-day he would kiss your little 
finger, to-morrow your hand, and after to-morrow 
you would be on his lap. 

Consuelo 

Foui! Father, what are you talking about? You 
should be ashamed! 

Mancini 
But I know. 



• • e 



124 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

Don't you dare! I don't want to hear such dirty 
things. I shall give the Baron such a slap ! A better 
one than He — let him only try. 

Mancini 

[With a deprecating gesture]: All men are like 
that, child. 

Consuelo 

It isn't true. Alfred is not. Ah! But where is 
He? He said he'd run, and he hasn't come back. 

Mancini 

The buffet here is closed, and he has to get the 
sandwiches somewhere else. Consuelo, as your father, 
I want to warn you about He. Don't trust him. He 
knows something. [Twirls his finger close to his fore- 
head.] His game is not fair. 

Consuelo 

You say it about everybody. I know He; he is 
such a nice man, and he loves me so much. 

Mancini 
Believe me, there is something in it. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 125 

CONSUELO 

Father, you make me sick with your advice. Ah! 
He, thank you. 

[HE, breathing somewhat heavily, enters and gives 
her th€ sandwiches.] 

He 

Eat, Consuelo. 

Consuelo 

A hot one. . . . But you were running, He? 
I am so grateful. [Eats.] He, do you love me? 

He 

I do, my Queen. I am your court fool. 

Consuelo 

[Eating] : And when I leave, will you find another 
queen? 

He 

[Making a ceremonious bow] : I shall follow after 
you, my incomparable one. I shall carry the train of 
your dress and wipe away my tears with it. [Pre- 
tends to cry.] 



126 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Mancini 

Idiot! [Laughs.] How sorry I am, He, that 
those wonderful times have passed, when, in the court 
of the Counts Mancini, there were scores of motley 
fools who were given gold and kicks. . . . Now, 
Mancini is compelled to go to this dirty circus in 
order to see a good fool; and still, whose fool is he? 
Mine? No. He belongs to everybody who pays a 
franc. We shall very soon be unable to breathe be- 
cause of Democracy. Democracy, too, needs fools! 
Think of it, He ; what an unexampled impertinence. 

He 

We are the servants of those who pay. But how 
can we help it, Count? 

Mancini 

But is that not sad? Imagine: we are in my castle. 
I, near the fireplace with my glass of wine, you, at 
my feet chatting your nonsense, jingling your little 
bells — diverting me. Sometimes you pinch me too 
with your jokes: it is allowed by the traditions and 
necessary for the circulation of the blood. After a 
while — I am sick of you, I want another one. 
Then I give you a kick and . . . Ah, He, how 
wonderful it would be! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 127 

He 

It would be marvellous, Mancini ! 

Mancini 

Yes. Certainly ! You would be getting 1 gold coins, 
those wonderfully little yellow things. . . . Well, 
when I become rich, I shall take you. That's settled. 

Consuelo 
Take him, Father . . . 

He 

And when the count, tired of my chattering, will 
give me a kick with his Highness's foot, then I shall 
lie down at the little feet of my queen, and shall . . 

Consuelo 

[Laughing'] : Wait for another kick? I'm finished. 
Father, give me your handkerchief, I want to wipe my 
hands. You have another one in your pocket. Oh, 
my goodness, I must work some more! 

Mancini 
[Uneasy] : But don't forget, my child! 



128 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

No, to-day I won't forget ! Go on ! 

Mancini 

[Looking at his watch] : Yes, it is time. 
He asked me to come over when you were ready. You 
must change your dress before I come back. [Laugh- 
ing.] Signori, miei complimenti. 
[He goes out, playing with his cane. Consuelo sits 

on the corner of the divan, and covers herself 

with her shard.] 

Consuelo 

Hello, He ! Come and lie down at my feet, and tell 
me something cheerful. . . . You know, when you 
paint the laughter on your face, you are very good 
looking, but now, too, you are very, very nice. Come 
on, He, why don't you lie down? 

He 

Consuelo! Are you going to marry the Baron? 

Consuelo 

[Indifferently] : It seems so. The Baron is hang- 
ing by a thread ! He, there is one little sandwich left. 
Eat 5t. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 129 

He 

Thank you, my queen. [Eats.~\ And do you re- 
member my prediction? 

Consuelo 

What prediction ? How quickly you swallow ! Does 
it taste good? 

He 

Very good. That if you marry the Baron, you . . . 

Consuelo 

Oh, that's what you're talking about. . . . But 
you were making fun. 

He 

Nobody can tell, my Queen. Sometimes one makes 
fun, and suddenly it turns out to be true; the stars 
never talk in vain. If sometimes it is difficult for a 
human being to open his mouth and to say a word, 
how difficult it must be for a star. Think of it. 

Consuelo 

[Laughing] : I should say. Such a mouth ! [Makes a 
tiny mouth.] 



130 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

No, my dear little girl, were I in your place, I 
would think it over. And suppose suddenly you 
should die? Don't marry the Baron, Consuelo! 

Consueeo 
[Thinking] : And what is — death? 

He 

I do not know, my Queen. Nobody knows. Like 
love! Nobody knows. But your little hands will be- 
come cold, and your dear little eyes will be closed. 
You will be away from here. And the music will play 
without you, and without you the crazy Bezano will 
be galloping, and Tilly and Polly will be playing on 
their pipes without you: tilly-polly, tilly-polly . . . 
tilly-tilly, polly-polly . . . 

CONSUELO 

Please don't, He darling I am so sad, any- 
way . . . tilly-tilly, polly-polly . . . [Silence. 
HE looks at Consuelo.] 

He 

You were crying, my little Consuelo? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 131 

CONSUELO 

Yes, a little. Alfred made me nervous. But tell 
me, is it my fault that I can't do anything to-day? 
I tried to, but I couldn't. 

He 

Why? 

CoNSUELO 

Ah, I don't know. There is something here. 
[Presses her hand against her heart.] I don't know. 
He, I must be sick. What is sickness? Does it hurt 
very much? 

He 

It is not sickness. It is the charm of the far off 
stars, Consuelo. It is the voice of your fate, my little 
Queen. 

Consuelo 

Don't talk nonsense, please. What should the stars 
care about me? I am so small. Nonsense, He! Tell 
me rather another tale which you know: about the 
blue sea and those gods, you know . . . who are 
so beautiful. Did they all die? 



]32 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

They are all alive, but they hide themselves, my 
goddess. 

Consuelo 

In the woods or mountains? Can one come across 
them? Ah, imagine He ... I come across a 
god, and he suddenly takes a look at me! I'd run 
away. [Laughs. ] This morning when I went without 
breakfast, I became so sad, so disgusted, and I 
thought : if a god should come, and give me something 
to eat ! And as I thought it, I suddenly heard, hon- 
estly it's true, I heard: "Consuelo, somebody's calling 
you." [Angrily.] Don't you dare laugh! 

He 

Am I laughing? 

Consuelo 

Honestly, it's true. Ah, He, but he didn't come. 
He only called me and disappeared, and how can you 
find him? It hurt me so much, and hurts even now. 
Why did you remind me of my childhood? I'd for- 
gotten it entirely. There was the sea . . . and some- 
thing . . . many, many [closes her eyes, smiling.] 

He 

Remember, Consueio. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 133 

CONSUELO 

No. [Opening her eyes] I forget everything 
about it. [Looks around the room.'] He, do you see 
what a poster they made for my benefit performance? 
It's Father's idea. The Baron liked it. [HE laughs. 
Silence.] 

He 

[Slowly] Consuelo, my Queen ! Don't go to the 
Baron to-day. 

Consuelo 
Why? [After a silence.] How fresh you are, He. 

He 
[Lowering his head, slowly] : I don't want it. 

Consuelo 
[Getting up]: What? You .don't want it? 

He 

[Bowing his head still lower] : I do not want you 
to marry the Baron [Imploring.] I . . . I shall 
not allow it . . .1 beg you ! 

Consuelo 

Whom, then, would you ask me to marry? You, 
)erhaps, you fool? [With a rancorous laugh] Are 



134 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

you crazy, my darling? "I shall not allow." He! 
He will not allow me! But it is unbearable! What 
business is it of yours? [Walking up and down the 
room, looks over her shoulder at HE, with anger.'] 
Some fool clown, whom they can kick out of here 
any minute. You make me sick with your stupid 
tales. Or you like slaps so much. Fool, you couldn't 
invent anything better than a slap ! 

He 

[Without lifting his head]: Forgive me, my 
Queen. 

Consuelo 

He is glad when they laugh at him. Some god! 
No, I shan't forgive. I know you. [Makes same 
gesture as Mancini.] You have something there! 
Laughs ... so nicely . . . plays, plays, and then 
suddenly— hop ! Obey him! No, darling, I am not 
thac kind! Carry my train, that is your business— 
fool! 

He 

I shall carry your train, my Queen. Forgive me 
Give me back the image of my beautiful, piteoui 
goddess. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 135 

CoNSUELO 

[Quieting down] : You're playing again? 

He 
I am. 

Consuelo 
[Laughing] : You see ! [Sits down.'] Foolish He. 

He 

I see everything, my Queen. I see how beautiful 
you are, and how low under your feet your poor 
court fool is lying. Somewhere in the abyss his 
little bells are ringing. He kneels before you and 
prays; forgive and pity him, my divine one. He was 
too impudent ; he played so cheerfully that he went 
too far and lost his tiny little mind, the last bit of 
understanding he had saved up. Forgive me ! 

Consuelo 

All right. I forgive you. [Laughs.] And now 
will you allow me to marry the Baron? 

He 

[Also laughing] : And nevertheless I will not allow 
it. But what does a queen care about the permission 
of her enamoured fool? 



136 PIE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

Get up. You are forgiven. And do you kno 
why? You think because of your words? You ai 
a cunning beast. He! No, because of the sandzuiche 
That's why. You w r ere so lovely, you panted s 
when you brought them. Poor darling He. Fro 
to-morrow you may be at my feet again. And . 
soon as I whistle, "tuwhooo" 

He 

I shall instantly lie down at thy feet, Consuelc 
It is settled! But all my little bells fell off to-da; 
and 

[Bezano appears, confused.] 

Consuelo 
Alfred! You came for me? 

Bezano 
Yes. Will you work some more, Consuelo? 

Consuelo 

Certainly. As much as you want. But I thought, 
Alfred, you were mad at me? I shan't dawdle anj 
more. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 137 

Bezano 

No. You didn't dawdle. Don't be offended, be- 
cause I yelled so much. You know when one has to 
teach, and 

CONSUELO 

My goodness, do you think I don't understand? 
You are too nice, unbearably nice, to like teaching 
such a fool as me. Do you think I don't understand? 
Come on ! 

Bezano 

Come on ! Hello, He ! I haven't seen you yet 
to-day. How are you? 

He 

How are you, Bezano? Wait, wait a minute — 
stay here a minute, both of you — that way. Yes! 
[Consuelo and Bezaxo stand side by side, the 
jockey scowling, Consuelo laughing and flush- 
ing.'] 

Consuelo 

Like Adam and Eve? How foolish you are! Ter- 
ribly. [She runs away.] I shall only change my 
slippers, Alfred. 



138 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Consuelo! And how about Father and the Baron? 
They will come soon, to take you with them. 

Consuelo 

Let them come. They can wait. Not very im- 
portant people. [Runs away. Bezano hesitatingly 
follows her.~\ 

He 

Stay here for a while, Bezano. Sit down. 

Bezano 

What more do you want? I have no time for your 
nonsense. 

He 

You can remain standing if you want. Bezano — 
you love her? [Silence.] 

Bezano 

I shall allow nobody to interfere with my affairs. 
You allow yourself too many liberties, He. I don't 
know you. You came from the street, and why 
should I trust you? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 139 

He 

But you know the Baron? Listen. It is painful 
for me to pronounce these words : she loves you. Save 
her from the spider! Or are you blind, and don't 
see the web, which is woven in every dark corner. 
Get out of the vicious circle in which you are turn- 
ing around, like a blind man. Take her away, steal 
her, do what you want . . . kill her even, and take 
her to the heavens or to the devil! But don't give 
her to this man! He is a defiler of love. And if 
you are timid, if you are afraid to lift your hand 
against her — kill the Baron! Kill! 

Bezano 

[With a smile]: And who will kill the others, to 
come? 

He 

She loves you. 

Bezano 

Did she tell you that herself? 

He 

What a petty, what a stupid, what a human pride ! 
But you are a little god! A god, youth! Why 



140 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

don't you want to believe me? Or does the street, 
from which I have come, bother you? But look, 
look yourself. Look in my eyes, do such eyes lie? 
Yes, my face is ugly, I make faces and grimaces, I 
am surrounded by laughter, but don't you see the 
god behind all this, a god, like you? Look, look at 
me! [Bezano bursts out laughing.] What are you 
laughing at, youth? 

Bezano 

You look now as you did that evening in the 
ring. You remember? When you were a great 
man, and they sent for you from the Academy, and 
suddenly — Hup ! He Who Gets Slapped ! 

He 

[Laughing the same way] : Yes, yes, you are right, 
Bezano. There is a resemblance. [With a strained 
expression, taking a pose~\ "It seems to me they sent 
for me from the Academy !" 

Bezano 

[Displeased] : But I don't like this play. You 
can present your face for slaps if you want to, but 
don't dare to expose mine. [Turns to go.] 

He 

Bezano ! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 141 

Bezano 

[Turning round] : And never let me hear any 

more about Consuelo, and don't dare to tell me again 

that I am a god! It is disgusting. 

[Bezano goes out angrily, striking his boot with his 

whip. HE is alone. Wrathfully, with a tor- 

tured expression, he makes a step towards the 

jockey, then stops, with soundless laughter, his 

head thrown backwards. The Baron and Man- 

cini find him in this position, when they enter. 

Man c ini 

[Laughing"] : What a cheerful chap you are, He ! 
You laugh when you are alone. [HE laughs aloud.] 
Stop it fool! How can you stand it? 

He 

[Bowing low, with a large gesture] : How do 
you do, Baron? My humblest respects to you, Count. 
I beg your pardon, Count, but you found the clown at 
work. These are, so to speak, Baron, his every-day 
pleasures. 

Mancini 

[Lifting his eyebrows] : Tsss. But you are a 
clever man, He. I shall ask Papa Briquet to give 
you a benefit performance. Shall I, He? 



142 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

Please do me the favour, Count. 

Mancini 

Don't overdo. Be more simple, He. [Laughs.] 
But how many slaps will you get at your benefit per- 
formance, when even on weekdays they ring you like 
a gong! A funny profession, isn't it, Baron? 

Baron 
Very strange. But where is the Countess? 

Mancini 

Yes, yes. I shall go for her at once. Dear child, 
she is so absorbed in her benefit performance and her 
work. They call this jumping work, Baron. 

Baron 

I can wait a little. [Sits down, with his silk hat 
on his head.] 

Mancini 

But why? I shall hurry her up. I shall be back 
at once. And you, He, be a nice host, and entertain 
our dear guest. You will not be bored in his com- 
pany, Baron. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 143 

[He goes out. HE strides about the stage, smiling 
and glancing from time to time at the Baron. 
The latter sits with his legs spread apart and 
his chin on the top of his cane. The silk hat 
remains on his head. He is silent.'] 

He 

In what way would you like me to entertain you, 
Baron ? 

Baron 
In no way! I don't like clowns. 

He 

Nor I Barons. 
[Silence. HE puts on his derby hat, takes a chair 
with a large gesture, and puts it down heavily, 
in front of the Baron. HE sits astride it, 
imitating the pose of the Baron, and looks him 
in the eyes. Silence. ,] 

He 

Can you be silent very long? 

Baron 

Very long. 



144 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

[Taps on the floor with his foot] : And can you 
wait very long? 

Baron 
Very long. 

He 

Until you get it? 

Baron 
Until I get it. And you? 

He 

I too. 
[Both look at each other, silently, tlieir heads close 
together. From the ring one hears the strains 
of the Tango.] 

Curtain 



ACT IV 

Music in the ring. More disorder in the room than 
usual. All kinds of actors' costumes hanging 
on pegs and lying in the corners. On the 
table a bouquet of fiery-red roses, put there by 
some careless hand. At the entrance y near the 
arch, three bareback riders are smoking and 
chattering; they are all minor actors. All part 
their hair the same way; two wear small mous- 
taches; the third one is clean-shaven with a face 
like a bull-dog. 

The Clean-Shaven One 

Go on, Henry ! Ten thousand francs ! It's too 
much even for the Baron. 

The Second 
How much are roses now? 

The Shaven 

I don't know. In winter they are certainly more 
expensive, but still Henry talks nonsense. Ten 
thousand ! 

145 



146 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

The Second 

The Baron has his own hothouse. They don't cost 
him anything. 

Henry 

[Throwing away his cigar, which has burned the 
tips of his fingers] : No, Grab, you're silly. There's 
a whole car-load full! One can smell the roses a mile 
away. They're to cover the entire arena. 

The Shaven 

Only the ring. 

Henry 

It's all the same. In order to cover the ring, you 
must have thousands and thousands of roses. You'll 
see what it looks like, when they've covered everything 
like a carpet. He ordered them to make it like a 
carpet! Do you see, Grab? 

The Second 
What a Baron's craze! Isn't it time yet? 

Henry 

No, we have time enough. I rather like it: a 
fiery-red tango on a fiery-red cover of winter roses. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 147 

The Shaven 
Consuelo will be galloping on roses. And Bezano? 

The Second 
And Bezano on thorns. [Smiles.] 

The Shaven 

That youngster has no self-respect. I'd have re- 
fused. 

Henry 

But it is his job. He's got to do it. [Laughs.] 
Talk to him about self-respect. He's as angry and 
proud as a little Satan. 

The Second 

No, you may say what you like, it's an excellent 
benefit performance. It's a joy to look at the crowd. 
They're so excited. 

Henry 

Tss! [All throw away their cigars and cigarettes, 
like school boys who are caught, and make way for 
Zinida, who enters with HE.] 



148 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

ZlNIDA 

What are you doing here, gentlemen? Your place 
is at the entrance. 

Henry 

[With a respectful smile]: We are here just for 
a minute, Madame Zinida. We are going. What a 
successful evening! And what a glory for Papa 
Briquet ! 

Zinida 

Yes. Go, and please don't leave your places. 
[They go. Zinida pulls a drawer out of the desk, 
and puts in some papers. She is in her lion tamer's 
costume.] He, what were you doing near my lions? 
You frightened me. 

He 

Why, Duchess, I merely wanted to hear what the 
beasts were saying about the benefit performance. 
They are pacing in their cages, and growling. 

Zinida 

The music makes them nervous. Sit down, He. 
An excellent evening, and I am so glad that Con- 
suelo is leaving us. Have you heard about the 
Baron's roses. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 149 

He 

Everybody is talking about them. The Hymeneal 



roses : 



ZlNIDA 

Here are some, too. [Pushes away the bouquet.] 
You find them everywhere. Yes, I am glad. She 
is superfluous here, and disturbs our work. It is 
a misfortune for a cast to have in it such a beautiful 
and such an . . . accessible girl. 

He 

But it is an honest marriage, Duchess, is it not? 

Zinida 

I don't care what it is. 

He 

Spiders, too need an improvement in their breed! 
Can't you imagine, Zinida, what charming little 
spiders this couple will create! They will have the 
face of their mother, Consuelo, and the stomach of 
their father, the Baron, and thus could be an or- 
nament for any circus-ring. 

Zinida 
You are malicious to-day, He. You are morose. 



150 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 

I laugh. 

Zinida 

You do, but without joy. Why are you without 
make-up ? 

He 

I am in the third act. I have time. And how 
does Bezano feel about this evening. Is he glad? 

Zinida 

I didn't talk to Bezano. You know what I think, 
my friend? You, too, are superfluous here. [Silence.] 

He 

How do you want me to take that, Zinida? 

Zinida 

Just as I said. In fact, Consuelo sold herself for 
nothing. What is the Baron worth, with his poor 
millions? People say that you are clever, too clever 
perhaps; tell me then, for how much could one buy 
me? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 151 

He 

[Looking as if he were pricing her] : Only for a 
crown. 

Zinida 
A baron's crown? 

He 
No, a royal one. 

Zinida 

\ou are far from being stupid. And you guessed 
that Consuelo is not Mancini's daughter? 

He 
[Startled]: What! And she knows it? 

Zinida 

Hardly. Why should she know it? Yes, she is 
a girl from Corsica whose parents are unknown. He 
preferred to use her for business rather than ... 
But according to the law, she is his daughter, Coun- 
tess Veronica Mancini. 

He 

It is nice, to have everything done according to 
law, isn't it, Zinida? But it is curious there is more 



152 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

blue blood in her than in this Mancini. One would 
say that it was she who found him on the street, and 
made him a count and her father. Count Mancini! 
[Laughs.] 

Zinida 

Yes, you are gloomy, He. I changed my mind, 
you'd better stay. 

He 

Will I not be superfluous ? 

Zinida 

When she is gone, you will not. Oh! You don't 
know yet, how nice it is to be with us. What a rest 
for the body and mind. I understand you. I am 
clever, too. Like you, I brought with me from out 
there my inclination for chains, and for a long time 
I chained myself to whatever I could, in order to feel 
firm. 

He 

Bezano ? 

Zinida 

Bezano and others; there were many, there will be 
many more. My red lion, with whom I am desperately 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 153 

in love, is still more terrible than Bezano. But it is 
all nonsense; old habits, which we are sorry to let 
go. like old servants who steal things. Leave Con- 
suelo alone. She has her own way. 

He 

Automobiles and diamonds? 

Zinida 

When did you see a beauty clad in simple cotton? 
If this one does not buy her, another will. They buy 
off everything that is beautiful. Yes, I know. For 
the first ten years she will be a sad beauty, who will 
attract the eyes of the poor man on the side-walk: 
afterward she will begin to paint a little around her 
eyes and smile, and then will take 

He 

Her chauffeur or butler as a lover? You're not 
guessing badly, Zinida ! 

Zinida 

Am I not right? I don't want to intrude on 
your confidence, but to-day I am sorry for you, He. 
What can you do against Fate? Don't be offended, 
my friend, by the words of a woman. I like you ; you 



154 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

are not beautiful, nor young, nor rich, and your 
place is 

He 

On the side-walk, from which one looks at the 
beauties. [Laughs.] And if I don't want to? 

Zinida 

What does it matter, your "want" or "don't want" ? 
I am sorry for you, my poor friend, but if you are 
a strong man, and I think you are, then there is 
only one way for you. To forget. 

He 

You think that that's being strong? And you are 
saying this, you, Queen Zinida, who want to awaken 
the feeling of love, even in the heart of a lion? For 
one second of an illusory possession, you are ready to 
pay with your life, and still you advise me to forget ! 
Give me your strong hand, my beautiful lady; see 
how much strength there is in this pressure, and don't 
pity me. 

[Enter Briquet and Mancini. The latter is re- 
served, and self-consciously imposing. He has a 
new suit, but the same cane, and the same noise- 
less smile of a satyr.'] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 155 

ZlNIDA 

[Whispering] : Will you stay? 

He 
Yes. I shan't go away. 

Mancini 

How are you, my dear? But you are dazzling, my 
dear! I swear you are marvellous! Your lion would 
be an ass, if he did not kiss your hand, as I do. . . . 
[Kisses her hand.] 

ZlNIDA 

May I congratulate you, Count? 

Mancini 
Yes, merci. [To HE] How are you, my dear? 

He 

Good evening, Count ! 

Briquet 

Zinida, the Count wants to pay immediately for 
the breach of contract with Consuelo . . . the Count- 
ess's contract. Don't you remember, Mother, how 
much it is? 



156 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

ZlNIDA 

I'll look it up, Papa. 

Mancini 

Yes, please. Consuelo will not return here any 
more. We leave to-morrow. 
[Zinida and Briquet search among the papers. HE 

takes Mancini roughly by the elbow, and draws 

him aside. ~\ 

He 

[In a low voice] : How are your girls, Mancini? 

Mancini 

What girls? What is this, stupidity or blackmail? 
Look out, sir, be careful, the policeman is not far. 

He 

You are much too severe, Mancini. I assumed, 
that since we are tete-a-tete . . . 

Mancini 

But tell me, what kind of tete-a-tete is possible, be- 
tween a clown and me? [Laughs.'] You are stupid, 
He. You should say what you want, and not ask 
questions ! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 157 

Briquet 
Three thousand francs, Count. 

Mancini 

Is that all? For Consuelo? All right. I'll tell 
the Baron. 



Zinida 



You took- 



Beiquet 
Don't, Mother, don't. 

Zinida 

Count, you drew in advance, I have it written down, 
eighty francs and twenty centimes. Will you pay this 
money, too? 

Mancini 

Certainly, certainly. You will get three thousand 
and one hundred. [Laughing] Twenty centimes! 
I never thought I could be so accurate. [Seriously] 
Yes, my friends. My daughter Consuelo — the Count- 
ess — and the Baron, expressed their desire to bid 
farewell to the whole cast. 



158 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

He 
The Baron, too? 

Mancini 

Yes, Auguste, too. They want to do it during the 
intermission. Therefore, I ask you to gather here . . 
the more decent ones . . . but please don't make it 
too crowded! He, will you, sir, be kind enough to 
run into the buffet and tell them to bring right away 
a basket of champagne, bottles and glasses — you 
understand? 

He 

Yes, Count. 

Mancini 

Wait a minute, what's the hurry — what is this, a 
new costume? You are all burning like the devils in 
hell! 

He 

You do me too much honour, Count, I am not a 
devil. I am merely a poor sinner who the devils are 
frying a little. [He goes out, bowing like a clown.] 

Mancini 
A gifted chap, but too cunning. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 159 

Briquet 

It's the Tango colour, in honour of your daughter, 
Count. He needs it for a new stunt, which he doesn't 
want to tell in advance. Don't you want to sit 
down, Count? 

Mancini 

Auguste is waiting for me, but . . . it's all right. 
[Takes a seat.] Nevertheless I am sorry to leave you, 
my friend. High society, certainly, prerogatives of 
the title, castles of exalted noblemen, but where could 
I find such freedom, and . . . such simplicity. .... 
And besides, these announcements, these burning pos- 
ters, which take your breath in the morning, they had 
something which summoned, which encouraged. . . . 
There, my friends, I shall become old. 

Briquet 

But pleasures of a higher kind, Count. Why are 
you silent, Zinida? 

Zinida 
I'm listening. 

Mancini 
By the way, my dear, how do you like my suit? 



160 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

You have wonderful taste. [Spreads out his lace tie 
and lace cuffs.~\ 

Zinida 

I like it. You look like a nobleman of the courts 
of long ago. 

Mancini 

Yes? But don't you think it is too conspicuous? 
Who wears lace and satin now? This dirty democracy 
will soon make us dress ourselves in sack cloth. [With 
a sigh] Auguste told me that this jabot was out of 
place. 

Zinida 

The Baron is too severe. 

Mancini 

Yes, but it seems to me he is right. I am a little 
infected with your fancy. [HE returns. Two 
waiters follow him> carrying a basket of champagne 
and glasses. They prepare everything on the table.] 

Mancini 

Ah ! merci, He. But, please, none of this bourgeoise 
exploding of corks ; be slower and more modest. Send 
the bill to Baron Regnard. Then, we will be here, 
Briquet. I must go. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 161 

ZlNIDA 

[Looks at her watch] : Yes, the act is going to 
end soon. 

Mancini 
Heavens! [Disappears in a hurry.] 

Briquet 
The devil take him! 

Zinida 
[Pointing to the waiter] : Not so loud, Louis ! 

Briquet 

No ! The devil take him ! And why couldn't you 
help me, Mother? You left me alone to talk to him. 
High Society! High pleasures! Swindler! [HE 
and Zinida laugh. The waiters smile.] 

Briquet 

[To the waiters]: What are you laughing about? 
You can go. We will help ourselves. Whiskey and 
soda, Jean ! [In a low and angry voice] Champagne ! 
[Enter Jackson, in his clown's costume.] 



162 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Jackson 

A whiskey and soda for me, too! At least I hear 
some laughter here. Those idiots have simply for- 
gotten how to laugh. My sun was rising and setting 

and crawling all over the ring and not a smile! 

Look at my bottom, shines like a mirror! [Turns 
around quickly.'] Beg your pardon, Zinida. And 
you don't look badly to-night, He. Look out for 
your cheeks. I hate beauties. 

Briquet 
A benefit performance crowd! 

Jackson 

[Looking in a hand mirror, correcting his make- 
up'] : In the orchestra there are some Barons and 
Egyptian mummies. I got a belly-ache from fright. 
I am an honest clown. I can't stand it when they 
look at me as if I had stolen a handkerchief. He. 
please give them a good many slaps to-night. 

He 

Be quiet, Jim. I shall avenge you. [He goes out.~\ 

Zinida 
And how is Bezano? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 163 

Jackson 

[Grumbling'] : Bezano ! A crazy success. But he 
is crazy, he will break his neck to-morrow. Why does 
he run such a risk? Or perhaps he has wings, like 
a god? Devil take it. It's disgusting to look at him. 
It's not work any more. 

Briquet 

You are right, Jim! It is not work any more. To 
your health, old comrade, Jackson. 

Jackson 
To yours, Louis. 

Briquet 

It is not work any more, since these Barons came 
here! Do you hear? They are laughing. But I 
am indignant, I am indignant, Jim ! What do they 
want here, these Barons? Let them steal hens in 
other hen roosts, and leave us in peace. Ah! Had 
I been Secretary of the Interior, I should have made 
an iron fence between us and those people. 

Jackson 

I am very sorry myself for our dear little Con- 
suelo. I don't krfow why, but it seems to me that we 



164 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

all look to-day more like swindlers than honest art- 
ists. Don't you think so, Zinida? 

Zinida 

Everybody does what he wants. It's Consuelo's 
business and her father's. 

Briquet 

No, Mother, that's not true! Not everybody does 
what he wants, but it turns out this way . . . devil 
knows why. 

[Enter Angelica and? Thomas, an athlete.] 

Angelica 
Is this where we're going to have champagne? 

Briquet 
And you're glad already? 

Thomas 
There it is! Oh, oh, what a lot! 

Angelica 
The Count told me to come here. I met him. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 165 

Briquet 

[Angrily] : All right, if he said so, but there is 
no reason to enjoy it. Look out, Angelica, you will 
have a bad end. I see you through and through. 
How does she work, Thomas? 

Thomas 
Very well. 

Angelica 

[In a low voice] : How angry Papa Briquet is 
to-night. 

[Enter HE, Tilly, Polly, and other actors, all in 
their costumes.] 

Tilly 
Do you really want champagne? 

Polly 
I don't want it at all. Do you, Tilly? 

Tilly 

And I don't want it. He, did you see how the 
Count walks? [Walks, imitating Mancini. Laugh- 
ter.] 



166 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Polly 

Let me be the Baron. Take my arm. Look out, 
ass, you stepped on my beloved family tree ! 

Angelica 

It'll soon be finished. Consuelo is galloping now. 
It is her waltz. What a success she is having! 

[All listen to the waltz. Tilly and Polly are 
singing it softly.] 

Angelica 

She is so beautiful! Are those her flowers? 

[They listen. Suddenly, a crash as if a broken wall 
were tumbling down-' applause, shouting, scream- 
ing; much motion on the stage. The actors are 
pouring champagne. New ones come in, talk- 
ing and laughing. When they notice the direct- 
or and the champagne, they become quiet and 
modest.] 

Voices 

They're coming ! What a success ! I should say, 
since all the orchestra seats . . . And what will it 
be when they see the Tango? Don't be envious, 
Alphonse. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 167 

Briquet 

Silence ! Not so much noise, please ! Zinida, look 

here, don't be so quiet ! High society ! 

[Enter Consuelo, on the arm of the Baron who is 
stiff and erect. She is happy. Mancini, seri- 
ous and happy. Behind them, riders, actors, 
actresses. The Baron has in his button-hole a 
fiery-red rose. All applaud and cry' "Bravo, 
bravo!"] 

Consuelo 

Friends . . . my dears . . . Father, I can't 
. . . [Throws herself into Mancini's arms, and 
hides her face on his shoulders. Mancini looks with 
a smile over her head at the Baron. Baron smiles 
slightly, but remains earnest and motionless. A new 
burst of applause.'] 

Briquet 
Enough, children ! Enough ! 

Mancini 

Calm yourself, calm yourself, my child. How they 
all love you! [Taking a step forward] Ladies and 
gentlemen, Baron Regnard did me the honour yes- 
terday, to ask for the hand of my daughter, the 



168 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Countess Veronica, whom you knew under the name 
of Consuelo. Please take your glasses. 

Consuelo 

No, I am still Consuelo, to-night, and I shall al- 
ways be Consuelo! Zinida, dear! [Falls on the neck 
of Zinida. Fresh applause.'] 

Briquet 

Stop it! Silence! Take your glasses. What are 
you standing here for? If you came, then take the 
glasses. 

Tilly 

[Trembling] : They are frightened. You take 

yours first, Papa, and we will follow. 

[They take the glasses. Consuelo is near the 
Baron, holding the sleeve of his dress coat with 
her left hand. In her right hand, she has a 
glass of champagne, which spills over.] 

Baron 
You are spilling your wine, Consuelo. 

Consuelo 
Ah! It is nothing! I am frightened, too. Are 
you, Father? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 169 

Mancini 

Silly child. [An awkward silence. ] 

Briquet 

[With a step forward]: Countess! As the direc- 
tor of the circus, who was happy enough ... to 
witness . . . many times . . . your successes . . . 

Consuelo 

I do not like this, Papa Briquet ! I am Consuelo. 
What do you want to do with me? I shall cry. I 
don't want this "Countess." Give me a kiss, Briquet! 

Briquet 

• Ah, Consuelo! Books have killed you. 

[Kisses her with tears. Laughter, applause. The 
clowns cluck like hens, bark, and express their 
emotions in many other ways. The motley 
crowd of clowns, which is ready for the panto- 
mime, becomes more and more lively. The 
Baron is motionless, there is a wide space 
around him; the people touch glasses with him 
in a hurry, and go off to one side. With Con- 
suelo they clink willingly and cheerfully. She 
kisses the women.] 



170 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Jackson 

Silence! Consuelo, from to-day on, I extinguish 
my sun. Let the dark night come after you leave us. 
You were a nice comrade and worker, we all loved 
you and will love the traces of your little feet on the 
sand. Nothing remains to us ! 

Consuelo 

You are so good, so good, Jim. So good that 
there is no one better. And your sun is better than 
all the other suns. I laughed so much at it. Alfred, 
dear, why don't you come? I was looking for you. 

Bezano 
My congratulations, Countess. 

Consuelo 
Alfred, I am Consuelo ! 

Bezano 

When you are on horseback; but here — I con- 
gratulate you, Countess. [He passes, only slightly 
touching Consuelo's glass. Consuelo still holds it, 
Mancini looks at the Baron with a smile. The lat- 
ter is motionless. ,] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 171 

Briquet 

Nonsense, Bezano. You are making Consuelo un- 
happy. She is a good comrade. 

Consuelo 

No, it's all right. 

Angelica 

You'll dance the Tango with her to-night, so how 
is she a countess? 

Tilly 

May I clink glasses with you, Consuelo? You 
know Polly has died of grief already, and I am 
going to die. I have such a weak stomach. 
[Laughter; Baron shows slight displeasure. General 
motion.] 

Mancini 
Enough, enough! The intermission is over. 

Consuelo 

Already? It's so nice here. 

Briquet 

I shall prolong it. They can wait. Tell them, 
Thomas. 



172 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Mancini 

Auguste, the musicians of the orchestra, too, ask 
permission to congratulate you and Consuelo. Do 
you . . . ? 

Baron 

Certainly, certainly. 
[Enter crowd of musicians. The conductor, an old 
Italian, lifts his glass solemnly and without look- 
ing at the Baron.] 

The Conductor 

Consuelo ! They call you Countess here, but for 
me you were and are Consuelo. 

Consuelo 
Certainly ! 

The Conductor 

Consuelo! My violins and bassoons, my trumpets 
and drums, all are drinking your health. Be happy, 
dear child, as you were happy here. And we shall 
conserve for ever in our hearts the fair memory of 
our light-winged fairy, who guided our bows so long. 
I have finished! Give my love to our beautiful Italy, 
Consuelo. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 173 

[Applause, compliments. The musicians one after 
another clink glasses and go out into the corri- 
dor. Consuelo is almost crying.] 

Mancini 

Don't be so sensitive, my child, it is indecent. Had 
I known that you would respond this way to this 
comedy — Auguste, look how touched this little heart 
is! 

Baron 
Calm yourself, Consuelo. 

Consuelo 

It is all right. Ah, Father, listen! 

[The musicians are playing the Tango in the corri- 
dor. Exclamations. ~\ 

Mancini 
You see. It is for you. 

Consuelo 

They are so nice. My Tango! I want to dance. 
Who is going to dance with me? [Looks around, 
seeking Bezano, who turns away sadly.] Who, then? 



174 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Voices 
Baron! Let the Baron dance! Baron! 

Baron 

All right. [Takes Consuelo's arm, and stands in 
the centre of a circle which is formed.] I do not 
know how to dance the Tango, but I shall hold tight. 
Dance, Consuelo. [He stands with legs spread, heav- 
ily and awkwardly, like an iron-moulded man, holding 
Consuelo's arm firmly and seriously. ] 

Mancini 

[Applauding] : Bravo ! Bravo ! [Consuelo makes 
a few restless movements, and pulls lier arm away.] 

Consuelo 

No, I can't this way. How stupid ! Let me go ! 
[She goes to Zinida and embraces her, as if hiding 
herself. The music still plays. The Baron goes 
off quietly to the side. There is an unfriendly si- 
lence among the cast. They shrug their shoulders.] 

Mancini 

[Alone] : Bravo ! Bravo ! It is charming, it is 
exquisite ! 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 175 

Jackson 

Not entirely, Count. 
[Tilly and Polly imitate the Baron and Consuelo 
without moving from their places.] 

Tilly 
[Shrieking] : Let me go ! 

Polly 

No, I'll not. Dance! 
[The music stops abruptly. General, too loud 
laughter; the clowns bark and roar. Papa 
Briquet gesticulates, in order to re-establish 
silence. The Baron is apparently as indiffer- 
ent as before.] 

Mancini 

Really these vagabonds are becoming too imperti- 
nent. [Shrugging his shoulders] It smells of the 
stable. You cannot help it, Auguste! 

Baron 

Don't be upset, Count. 

He 

[Holding his glass, approaches the Baron] : Baron 
Will you permit me to make a toast? 



176 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Baron 
Make it. 

He 

To your dance! [Slight laughter in the crowd.] 

Baron 
I don't dance! 

He 

Then another one, Baron. Let us drink to those 
who know how to wait longer, until they get it. 

Baron 

I do not accept any toasts which I do not under- 
stand. Say it more simply. 

[Voice of a woman: "Bravo, HE!" Slight laughter. 

Mancini says something hastily to Briquet; the 
latter spreads his arms in gesture of helplessness. 
Jackson takes HE by the arm.] 

Jackson 
Beat it, He! The Baron doesn't like jokes. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 177 

He 

But I want to drink with the Baron. What can 
be simpler? Simpler? Baron, let us drink to the 
very small distance which will always remain 'twixt 
the cup and the lip! [Spills his wine, and laughs.'] 
[The Baron turns his back on him, indifferently. 
The music plays in the ring. The bell rings.] 

Briquet 

[Relieved] : There ! To the ring, ladies and gen- 
tlemen, to the ring, to the ring! 
[The actresses run out. The crowd becomes smaller; 
laughter and voices.] 

Mancini 

[Much excited, whispers to the Baron] : "Auguste, 
Auguste " 

Briquet 

[To Zinida] : Thank heaven they're beginning. 
Ah, Mother, I asked you . . . but you want a 
scandal by all means, and you always 

Zinida 

Let me alone, Louis. 
[HE approaches Consuelo, who is alone.] 



178 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

CONSUELO 

He, deary, how are you? I thought you didn't 
want even to come near me. [In a low voice] Did 
you notice Bezano? 

He 

I was waiting for my turn, Queen, It was so 
difficult to get through the crowd to approach you. 

Consuelo 

Through the crowd? {With a sad smile] I am 
quite alone. What do you want, Father? 

Mancini 

Child! Auguste . . . 

Consuelo 

[Pulling away her hand] : Let me alone ! I'll 

soon be — Come here, He. What did you say to 

him? They all laughed. I couldn't understand. 
What? 

He 

I joked, Consuelo. 

Consuelo 
Please don't, He, don't make him angry; he is so 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 179 

terrible. Did you see how he pressed my arm? I 
wanted to scream. [With tears in her eyes] He 
hurt me! 

He 

It's not too late yet. Refuse him. 

Consuelo 
It is too late, He. Don't talk about it. 

He 

Do you want it? I will take you away from here. 

Consuelo 

Where to? [Laughs.] Ah, my dear little silly 
boy, where could you take me to. All right, be quiet. 
How pale you are! You too, love me? Don't He, 
please don't! Why do they all love me? 

He 

You are so beautiful! 

Consuelo 

No, no. It's not true. They must not love me. 
I was still a little cheerful, but when they began to 
speak ... so nicely . . . and about Italy . . . 



180 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

and to bid farewell, as if I were dying, I thought I 
should begin to cry. Don't talk, don't talk, but 
drink to . . . my happiness. [With a sad smile] 
To my happiness, He. What are you doing? 

He 

I am throwing away the glass from which you 
drank with the others. I shall give you another 
one. Wait a minute. [Goes to pour champagne. 
Consuelo walks about thoughtfully. Almost all are 
gone. Only the principal figures are left.] 

Mancini 

[Coming to her] : But it is really becoming inde- 
cent, Veronica. Auguste is so nice, he is waiting for 
you, and you talk here with this clown. Some stupid 
secrets. They're looking at you — it is becoming 
noticeable. It is high time, Veronica, to get rid of 
these habits. 

Consuelo 

[Loudly] : Let me alone, Father ! I want to do 
so, and will do so. They are all my friends. Do 
you hear? Let me alone! 

Baron 

Don't, Count. Please, Consuelo, talk to whomever 
you please and as much as you want. Would you 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 181 

like a cigar, Count? Dear Briquet, please order 
them to prolong the intermission a little more. 

Briquet 

With pleasure, Baron. The orchestra crowd can 
be a little angry. [Goes, and returns shortly. HE 
gives a glass to Consuelo.] 

He 

Here is your glass. To your happiness, to your 
freedom, Consuelo ! 

Consuelo 
And where is yours? We must touch our glasses. 

He 

You leave half. 

Consuelo 

Must I drink so much? He, deary, I shall be- 
come drunk. I still have to ride. 

He 

No, you will not be drunk. Dear little girl, did 
you forget that I am your magician? Be quiet and 



182 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

drink. I charmed the wine. My witchery is in it. 
Drink, goddess. 

Consuelo 

[Lingeringly] : What kind eyes you have. But 
why are you so pale? 

He 

Because I love you. Look at my kind eyes and 
drink ; give yourself up to my charms, goddess ! You 
shall fall asleep, and wake again, as before. Do you 
remember? And you shall see your country, your 
sky . . . 

Consuelo 

[Bringing the glass to her lips] : I shall see all 
this; is that true? 

He 

[Growing paler] : Yes ! Awake, goddess, and re- 
member the time when, covered with snow-white sea- 
foam, thou didst emerge from the sky blue waters. 
Remember heaven, and the low eastern wind, and the 
whisper of the foam at thy marble feet. . . .., 

Consuelo 
[Drinking] : There ! Look ! Just a half ! Take 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 183 

it. But what is the matter with you? Are you laugh- 
ing or crying? 

He 

I am laughing and crying. 

Mancini 

[Pushing HE away, slightly'] : Enough, Countess, 
my patience is exhausted. If Auguste is good enough 
to allow it, then I, your Father — Your arm, Countess ! 
Will you step aside, sir? 

Consuelo 
I am tired. 

Mancini 

You are not too tired to chatter and drink wine 
with a clown, and when your duty calls you — Briquet! 
Tell them to ring the bell. It is time. 

Consuelo 
I am tired, Father. 

Zinida 

Count, it is cruel. Don't you see how pale she 
has become? 



184j HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Baron 
What is the matter with you, dear little Consuelo? 

CoNSUELO 

Nothing. 

Zinida 

She simply needs a rest, Baron. She hasn't sat 
down yet . . . and so much excitement. . . . Sit 
down here, dear child. Cover yourself and rest a 
little. Men are so cruel! 

Consuelo 

I still have to work. [Closing, Tier eyes."] And the 
roses, are they ready? 

Zinida 

Ready, dear, ready. You will have such an ex- 
traordinary carpet. You will gallop as if on air. 
Rest. 

4 

Polly 

Do you want some moosic? We will play you a 
song; do you want it? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 185 

CONSUELO 

[Smiling, eyes closed] : Yes, I do. 
[The clowns play a soft and naive song'- tilly-poUy, 
tilly-polly. General silence. HE sits in the 
corner with his face turned away. Jackson 
watches him out of the corner of his eye, and 
drinks wine, lazily. The Baron, in his usual pose, 
wide and heavily spread legs, looks at the pale 
face of Consuelo, with his bulging motionless 
eyes.~\ 

Consuelo 

[With a sudden cry] : Ah! Pain! 

Zinida 

What is it, Consuelo? 

Mancini 

My child! Are you sick! Calm yourself. 

Baron 

[Growing pale] : Wait a moment. . . . She 
was too much excited. . . . Consuelo! 

Consuelo 

[Gets up, looking before her with wide-open eyes, as 
if she were listening to something within herself] : 



186 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Ah! I feel pain. Here at the heart. Father, what 
is it? I am afraid. What is it? My feet too . . . 
I can't stand. ... [Falls on divan, her eyes wide 
open.~\ 

Mancini 

[Running about]: Bring a doctor! Heavens, it is 
terrible! Auguste, Baron ... It never hap- 
pened to her. It is nerves, nerves. . . . Calm 
yourself, calm, child 

Briquet 
Bring a doctor! [Somebody runs for a doctor.] 

Jackson 

[In a voice full of fear] : He, what is the matter 
with you? 

He 

It is death, Consuelo, my little Queen. I killed you. 

You are dying. 

[He cries , loudly and bitterly. Consuelo with a 
scream, closes her eyes, and becomes silent and 
quiet. All are in terrible agitation. The Baron 
is motionless, and sees only Consuelo.] 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 187 

Mancini 

[Furious] : You are lying, rascal ! Damned clown ! 
What did you give her? You poisoned her! Mur- 
derer! Bring a doctor! 

He 

A doctor will not help. You are dying, my little 

Queen. Consuelo ! Consuelo ! 

[Bezano rushes in, cries: "Briquet!" becomes silent 
and looks with horror at Consuelo. Somebody 
else come in. Briquet is making gestures for 
someone to close the door~\. 

Consuelo 

[In a dull and distant voice] : You are joking, 
He? Don't frighten me. I am so frightened. Is 
that death? I don't want it. Ah, He, my darling 
He, tell me that you are joking, I am afraid, my 
dear, golden He ! 

[HE pushes away the Baron, with a commanding 
gesture, and stands in his place near Consuelo. 
The Baron stands as before, seeing only Con- 
suelo.] 

He 

Yes, I am joking. Don't you hear how I laugh, 
Consuelo? They all laugh at you here, my silly child. 



188 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Don't laugh, Jim. She is tired, and wants to sleep. 
How can you laugh, Jim! Sleep my dear, sleep my 
heart, sleep my love. 

Consuelo 

Yes, I have no more pain. Why did you joke that 
way, and frighten me? Now I laugh at myself. You 
told me, didn't you, that I . . . should . . . 
live . . . eternally? 

He 

Yes, Consuelo ! You shall live eternally. Sleep. Be 
calm. [Lifts up his arms, as if straining with all his 
forces to lift her soul higher. ~\ How easy it is now! 
How much light, how many lights are burning about 
you. . . . The light is blinding you. 

Consuelo 
Yes, light ... Is that the ring? 

He 

No, it is the sea and the sun . . . what a sun! 
Don't you feel that you are the foam, white sea-foam, 
and you are flying to the sun? You feel light, you 
have no body, you are flying higher, my love! 

I am flying. I am the sea-foam, and this is the 
sun, it shines ... so strong. ... I feel 
well. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 189 

[She dies. Silence. HE stays a moment with lifted 
arms, then takes a long look, lets his arms fall, 
and shakingly goes off to one side. He stands 
still for a moment, then sits down, drops his head 
on his hands, and struggles lonesomely with the 
torpidity of coming death.~\ 

Briquet 

[Slowly] : She has fallen asleep, Mother? 

Zinida 

[Dropping the dead hand] : I am afraid not. . . . 

Step aside, Louis. Baron, it is better for you to step 

aside. Baron! Do you hear me? [Weeps.] She is 

dead, Louis. 

[The clowns and Briquet are crying. Mancini is 
overwhelmed. The Baron and HE are motion- 
less, each in his place.] 

Jackson 

[Drawing out a large prismatic clown's handker- 
chief to wipe away his tears] : Faded, like a flower. 
Sleep, little Consuelo! The only thing that remains 
of you is the trace of your little feet on the sand. 
[Cries.] Ah, what did you do, what did you do, He! 
. It would have been better if you had never 
come to us. 
[There is music in the ring.] 



190 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Briquet 

[Gesticulating]-. The music! Stop the music! 

They are crazy there. What a misfortune! 

[Someone runs off. Zinida approaches the crying 
Bezano and strokes his bowed, pomaded head. 
When he notices her, he catches her hand and 
presses it to his eyes. The Baron takes the rose 
from his button-hole, tears off the petals, and 
drops it, grinding it with his foot. A few pale 
faces peer through the door, the same masquerade 
crowd.] 

Zinida 

[Over the head of Bezano] : Louis, we must call 
the police. 

Mancini 

[Awakening from his stupor, screams'] : The police ! 
Call the police! It's a murder! I am Count Mancini, 
I am Count Mancini! They will cut off your head, 
murderer, damned clown, thief! I myself will kill you, 
rascal ! Ah, you ! [HE lifts his heavy head with dif- 
ficulty.] 

He 

They will cut off my head? And what more . . . 
Your Excellency? 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 191 

Baron 

Sir! Listen, sir! I am going for the police. Stop 
it, sir. [He suddenly takes a step forward, and look- 
ing HE in the eyes, speaks in a hoarse voice, with a 
cough, holding one hand at his throat. ] I am the 
witness. I saw. I am a witness. I saw how he put 
poison . . . I 

[He leaves the room, suddenly, with the same straight, 
heavy steps. All move away from him, fright- 
ened. HE drops his head again. From time to 
time a tremor shakes his body.] 

Jackson 

[Clasping his hands] : Then it is all true? Poi- 
soned! What a vile man you are, He. Is this the 
way to play? Now wait for the last slap of the exe- 
cutioner! [Makes the gesture around his neck, of the 
guillotine. Tilly and Polly repeat the gesture.] 

Zinida 

Leave his soul alone, Jim. He was a man, and he 
loved. Happy Consuelo ! 

[A shot is heard in the corridor. Thomas, frightened, 
runs in and points to his head.] 



192 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 

Thomas 

Baron . . . Baron . . . his head . . . 
He shot himself? . . . 

Briquet 

[Throwing his arms up]: God! What is it? The 
Baron? What a calamity for our circus. 

Mancini 

The Baron? The Baron? No. What are you 
standing here for? Ah! 

Briquet 

Calm down, Count. Who would have believed it? 
Such a respectable . . . gentleman ! 

He 

[Lifting his head with difficulty; he sees only dimly 
with his dulled eyes] : What more? What happened? 

Thomas 

The Baron shot himself. Honestly. Straight here! 
He's lying out yonder. 



HE WHO GETS SLAPPED 193 

He 

[Thinking it over] : Baron? [Laughs.] Then 
the Baron burst? 

Jackson 

Stop it ! It's shameless. A man died and you . • . 
What's the matter with you, He? 

He 

[Stands up, lifted to his feet by the last gleam of 
consciousness and life, speaks strongly and indig- 
nantly]: You loved her so much, Baron? So much? 
My Consuelo? And you want to be ahead of me even 
there? No! I am coming. We shall prove then 
whose she is to be for ever. 

[He catches at his throat, falls on his back. People 
run to him. General agitation.] 

Curtain 



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